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What are Tuberculosis?

TB is a highly contagious disease that is most often associated with humans. Dogs typically have an immunity to TB, however, it is possible for your dog to contract the illness. Below we will discuss and identify in more detail the types of TB and how your dog can contract the sickness. 

Your dog will present as lethargic and have multiple symptoms that are generalized. It can present as an overall slow deterioration in his health with no other obvious symptoms present.

Tuberculosis or TB in dogs is similar to humans with TB. Your dog may exhibit a cough, weight loss, and vomiting among other symptoms. TB is a mycobacterial disease that is spread via contact with infected materials.

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Tuberculosis Average Cost

From 522 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,100

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Tuberculosis in Dogs

Symptoms can be generalized and non-specific to TB. It is important to understand that symptoms can present even months after your dog came into contact with someone who had TB. Below are some things to be aware of:

  • Cough – This will be ongoing and not isolated to an incident or ingestion of anything
  • Weight loss – The weight loss can go so far as your dog becoming anorexic, this weight loss will have no specific cause 
  • Vomiting – While it is normal for your dog to vomit occasionally, this will be ongoing with no known cause or cure
  • Lethargy – You may notice that your dog is no longer as active as he normally is and needs more rest time than before 
  • Cachexia – Your dog may present with a decline in his overall health, including many of the symptoms discussed  
  • Fever – He may have a fever when brought in to the veterinarian
  • Leukocytosis – Your veterinarian may find an increase in white blood cells in your dog’s blood work 
  • Shortness of breath – This may present out of nowhere or slowly over time 

Types

There are two main types of TB your dog can contract. One accounts for 75% of all TB cases in dogs while the other one makes up the rest. The two type are Bovine TB and Mycobacterium TB.

Bovine TB

  • Can be contracted by dogs
  • Risk is low of your dog contracting this strain
  • Contracted via contact with infected tissue 
  • Most likely contracted by your dog eating a dead animal that was contaminated with it
  • Makes up for 25% of cases

Mycobacterium TB

  • Comes from humans
  • Is easily spread via the air when an infected human coughs or if your dog eats contaminated tissue of any kind 
  • Accounts for 75% of cases of TB in dogs
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Causes of Tuberculosis in Dogs

The only cause of TB is your dog coming into contact with the disease. Since dogs have a natural immunity towards TB it is rare for them to contract it. However, if a family member in your home or around your dog has TB they can get it. Also if your dog was near another animal infected with bovine TB he is at risk as well.

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Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Dogs

If you are concerned that your dog has contracted TB, it is important to get to his veterinarian right away as it is a highly contagious disease. Your veterinarian will want to know what signs and symptoms you have noticed and the time frame in which you began to be concerned.

It will also be important to share with your veterinarian if anyone that encountered your dog was infected with TB. The veterinarian will want to do a physical examination and possibly x-rays to determine if it is TB or not. While there is a test for TB in your dog, it is unfortunately not very reliable and often comes up as a false negative. 

Most confirmed diagnoses are done post-mortem. Your veterinarian will most likely make the diagnosis if your dog was in the home with someone who had TB or around an animal that was thought to have TB and presents with the symptoms identified above.

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Treatment of Tuberculosis in Dogs

Treatment options are unfortunately limited to euthanizing your dog due to public health concerns. All confirmed cases and possible cases will most likely need to be reported to your public health department as well. While the chance of canine to human transmission is rare, it is not a risk that is taken lightly.

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Recovery of Tuberculosis in Dogs

Due to there being no treatment options there is no need for follow-up or ongoing changes. However, if your dog did contract it at a farm that you own or frequent, it will be important to ensure that the rest of the animals/herd are not infected as well.

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Tuberculosis Average Cost

From 522 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,100

Average Cost

$800

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Tuberculosis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pequeña

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Boxer

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Fever, Caugh, Vomiting, Weight Loss
Fever, Caugh,
Fever, Caugh, Vomiting

Hello,my dog is a female Boxer, and she was doing great, growing as a puppy should do; she is now 6 months old, and suddenly from one day to the other she started coughing, and vomiting everything she had for meal. As soon as i saw this, I took her to the Vet, at the beginning the Vet told me that it seemed like a lungs infection (the Vet even told me that it seemed as if my baby dog had like a fongus in her lungs), so the Vet asked me to keep her there for following up and treating her. So I did, now, its been over a week since my baby dog showed the symptoms; and the Vet just called me today to tell me that she thinks my baby dog has TUBERCULOSIS; even the Vet can not be sure; but my questions is, I have two puppies, both are Boxer, one male and one female, the male is about 4 months old, and was living together with the female that is 6 months old. The male hasn't showed any symptom, just the female; is there a way to find out for sure if my baby girl has TUBERCULOSIS or not ?

April 9, 2018

Pequeña's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Tuberculosis is very difficult to test for, and quite uncommon in dogs, especially if she hasn't had any exposure to it from a human. Without seeing her, I cannot comment on her condition, but this is very rare in dogs. Other fungal and bacterial infections are more common. It might be worth getting a second opinion, just because that is such a serious diagnosis.

April 9, 2018

Thank you very much, my baby dog just passed away yesterday; finally the Vet confirmed that she had lungs cancer. I do appreciate it for your kind answer.

April 13, 2018

Pequeña's Owner


I'm sorry your baby dog passed away, you did all you could and gave your fur baby the best possible chance, she had a lovely life with you.. rejoice in that .. painful, I know, been there... all the best to you, and the other babies you have to help you through this till it feels less painful x god bless from me and my fur babies

April 23, 2018

Natasha B.

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hypothetical this is for a project

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Poodle

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9 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None This Is Hypothetical
None

Is there any prevention for TB in dogs? Like a vaccine other than keeping your dog away from the disease? I'm doing a project for my small animal care class and am making a pamphlet on canine tuberculosis.

March 22, 2018

hypothetical this is for a project's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. TB is very rare in dogs, as have a level of natural immunity to it. You can find more information on it at: https://wagwalking.com/condition/tuberculosis.

March 22, 2018

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Tuberculosis Average Cost

From 522 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,100

Average Cost

$800

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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