There are many diseases that we can get from pets, so we must inform ourselves very well about them. In the following article, we inform you about the Campylobacter infection that is present in dogs and can cause diarrhea, among other consequences.
What to know about Campylobacter infection
One of the main causes of diarrhea is Campylobacter infection, which is among the most frequent food poisoning. It can affect millions of people every year, especially babies, teenagers, and young adults living in poor hygiene and cleanliness.
The genus Campylobacter is composed of several bacteria (such as Jejuni, Coli, and Fetus) and is common in farm animals or pets. These microorganisms, which are elongated, require low levels of oxygen to survive and do not move on their own, they lodge in the intestines and then are eliminated through feces.
Contagion is caused by the intake of water or food contaminated with these bacteria. Another way to get infected is to be in contact with the fecal remains of a sick person, as a mother when she sanitizes her baby.
What are the symptoms of Campylobacter infection?
The main symptoms of a Campylobacter infection begin after two days after the bacteria enter the body. We can differentiate into two large groups the diseases caused by it:
1. Enteric diseases
They are caused by two Campylobacter bacteria: Coli and Jejuni. They heal at approximately ten days. The best-known symptom of this infection is diarrhea. It also causes inflammation in the intestine, fever, abdominal pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, and general malaise.
2. Extraintestinal diseases
They are mainly caused by Campylobacter fetus and are less frequent, although more serious. It can affect the heart and blood vessels and cause endocarditis and pericarditis. Extraintestinal diseases also cause a neurological disorder known as Guillain Barré Syndrome, urinary infections, pancreatitis, and arthritis.
Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Campylobacter infection
When some symptoms indicated above are identified, and we are aware of the contact with a dog or a farm animal – and more specifically of its feces -, we must go to the doctor quickly.
Some professionals indicate a blood test to determine if there are alterations in white blood cell count or blood pH. A microscopic examination of the stool or a blood culture (blood) may also be done.
Once Campylobacter infection has been diagnosed, the next step is to comply with the appropriate treatment. As diarrhea causes dehydration, it is essential to drink water and isotonic drinks that return the lost liquid and electrolytes to the body.
It is not advised to follow a solid diet during the first four days. From that moment, it is advisable to eat astringent foods – potato, toast, rice, chicken, or grilled fish – in a few quantities.
In very advanced cases, treatment with antibiotics or antimicrobials such as azithromycin and erythromycin may be indicated.
The prognosis of Campylobacter infection is good in most patients who recover within ten days at the most. It must be taken into account that children under two years of age, the elderly, and the immunocompromised are the risk groups for this type of bacteria.
Can an infection of these characteristics be prevented by having pets at home? Of course, yes. Hygiene is essential, so it is recommended to wash your hands well after playing with the dog or cleaning the feces.
It is also necessary to disinfect those objects that may be contaminated by infected feces of our pets, wash the food we eat well, do not drink water from rivers or streams if we are on vacation and avoid the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products.