Campylobacteriosis in dogs

Campylobacteriosis is a disease that produces acute infectious diarrhea in puppies. It also occurs in kennel dogs and strays—most of whom are in poor condition and are suffering from other intestinal infections.

The bacteria is acquired by contact with contaminated food, water, uncooked poultry or beef, and animal feces. Campylobacteria can survive for up to five weeks in water or unpasteurized milk.

The incubation period is one to seven days. Signs of acute infection include vomiting and a watery diarrhea that contains mucus and sometimes blood. The disease usually runs its course in five to fifteen days, but may be followed by chronic diarrhea in which bacteria is shed in the feces.

Treatment: Treat mild diarrhea as described in Diarrhea, page 283. Keep the dog warm, dry, and in a stress-free environment. More severely affected dogs will require veterinary management with intravenous fluids to correct dehydration. Antibiotics may be advisable. Erythromycin and ciprofloxin are the drugs of choice.

Public health considerations: Campylobacteriosis is a common cause of diarrhea in humans. Most human cases arise from contact with newly acquired kittens and puppies who are suffering from diarrhea. Parents should be aware that puppies with diarrhea may harbor a human pathogen. Good hygiene is essential, especially for young children and people who are immunocompromised.