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Campylobacteriosis: Campylobacter in Dogs and Cats

What is Campylobacteriosis in Dogs and Cats?

Campylobacteriosis is an infectious bacterial disease caused by the Campylobacter bacteria. It affects both animals and humans, leading to gastrointestinal issues. This bacteria is prevalent in the intestinal tracts of animals worldwide, including dogs and cats.

How Do Dogs and Cats Get Campylobacter?

The primary way dogs and cats contract Campylobacter is through ingesting feces-contaminated food or water. Raw meats, particularly chicken, can also be a significant source of infection. Puppies and kittens under six months of age are especially vulnerable, while older animals are more resistant but can still become carriers.

Symptoms of Campylobacter in Dogs and Cats

Neonates, especially during weaning or after arriving at a rescue or kennel, are most likely to exhibit symptoms. Adult dogs and cats often carry the bacteria without showing symptoms, but younger animals typically display clinical signs such as:

  • Vomiting

  • Watery diarrhea with mucus or blood

  • Cramping

  • Abdominal pain

  • Fever

In humans, Campylobacteriosis is one of the leading causes of diarrheal illness in the United States. Preventative measures include proper hand washing, drinking safe water, and careful handling of raw meat.

Treatment for Campylobacter in Dogs and Cats

Effective treatment for Campylobacteriosis involves a combination of antibiotics and supportive care. It’s crucial to maintain treatment for at least 21 days to ensure complete eradication and prevent carriers.

  • Antibiotics: Azithromycin (Zithromax®) and erythromycin are preferred. Cephalexin and Tylosin (Tylan®) can also be effective.

  • Electrolytes: Maintaining hydration is critical, especially with severe diarrhea.

  • Probiotics: Probiotics can support recovery by promoting healthy gut flora. Administer probiotics to the dam before and after whelping to ensure she passes beneficial bacteria to her puppies.

Preventing Campylobacteriosis in Dogs and Cats

Preventative measures focus on maintaining good hygiene and managing diet and health practices:

  • Avoid Raw Meat: Do not feed dogs and cats raw or undercooked meat.

  • Clean Environment: Keep food and water bowls clean to prevent contamination.

  • Isolation: Separate any animal showing symptoms to prevent the spread of the disease.

  • Deworming: Regular deworming can reduce the risk of co-infection with parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia.

Managing an Outbreak in Kennels

If there is an outbreak in a kennel, it is essential to treat the entire kennel to target asymptomatic carriers:

  • Medicated Water: Use Tylan or lincomycin in the nursery or whelping area.

  • Monitor for Resistance: Tetracycline can be used for non-pregnant adults but must be monitored for resistance. Avoid using it in neonates or pregnant females.

By maintaining good hygiene practices, providing appropriate veterinary care, and ensuring a clean environment, the risk of Campylobacteriosis can be significantly reduced in dogs and cats. For more information on managing and preventing diseases in pets, visit

Campylobacter in Dogs
Campylobacter in Dogs


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