Diagnosing and Treating Canine Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Dogs are susceptible to a wide range of bacterial and fungal infections, especially when they spend a lot of time outdoors. These types of infections can be worrisome for their owners and for good reason, because some bacterial infections can prove fatal if treatment is not administered soon enough.

In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the top bacterial and fungal infections (in no specific order) found in dogs, and how they are treated.

bacterial infections for dogs

Most Common Bacterial Infections in Dogs

Leptospirosis – Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by a bacterium known as spirochetes and it can affect both humans and animals. Dogs typically contract this infection from contaminated, stagnant water or from coming in contact with urine from other animals infected with the bacteria. Dogs can also get it through bites or from mating with other infected dogs.

Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, lethargy, depression, vomiting, and redness of the mucous membranes. In the case of serious infection, a dog may even develop kidney inflammation, resulting in permanent damage to the kidney. Treatment for leptospirosis requires an antibiotic like doxycycline.

Staphylococcal Infection – This infection is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus sp, and it affects a dog’s upper respiratory tract and her skin. This is the most common type of bacterial skin infection seen in dogs. The bacteria is most commonly transmitted between another animal and the dog.

Staph infections are treated using antibiotic shampoos and ointments for skin infections and oral antibiotics like erythromycin, clindamycin, or cephalexin. Staphylococcus is a zoonotic risk, meaning it can be transmitted from a dog to a human and vice versa, so early treatment is important.

Bacterial Ear Infection – A dog can develop a bacterial ear infection when she comes into contact with a yeast species called Malassezia pachydermatis. While a healthy dog can usually defend herself against this bacterium, a dog that has a weakened immune system will find it more difficult.

Signs of a bacterial ear infection include itchy, red, and inflamed inner ears, bad odor, waxy build up in the ear. As long as the eardrum is intact, bacterial ear infections are treated using gentamycin, tobramycin, or amikacin.

Actinomycosis and Nocardiosis – Actinomycosis is an infection that’s caused by the Actinomyces sp., while Nocardiosis is caused by Nocardia sp. Both of these bacteria are found predominantly in soil. An infection occurs when the bacteria enters the skin through a wound or abscess. If the infection isn’t treated using a beta-lactam penicillin-type antibiotic like carbenicillin, it will make its way deeper into the chest or abdomen, where it will cause pus to accumulate there.

Most Common Fungal Infections in Dogs

Aspergillosis – Aspergillosis is a fungal infection caused by a species of mold called aspergillus. These fungi most commonly affect dogs with weakened immune systems. The nasal form of the disease is the most common with transference occurring through your dog’s nose and sinuses. There is also a more disseminated form of the disease that develops in other organs in the body.

Common symptoms include sneezing, bleeding from the nose, nasal discharge, swollen nose, and decreased appetite. Aspergillosis is treated using an antifungal medication like ketoconazole, fluconazole, or itraconazole.

Cryptococcus – Cryptococcus is caused by a yeast-like fungus called cryptococcus neoformans. Dogs contract this disease by inhaling the spores found in soil that has been contaminated by bird droppings. This disease can affect a dog’s brain, eyes, lymph nodes, and skin.

Symptoms can include coughing, imbalanced gait, circling, seizures, inflammation of the eyes, blindness, and swollen lymph nodes. Cryptococcus is treated using imidazole-based medicines like miconazole or clotrimazole.

Blastomycosis – Blastomycosis is a regional systemic fungal disease that can be found along the Eastern seaboard, in the Great Lakes region, and in the Mississippi River valleys. The fungus is prevalent in these areas because it is found in moist rotting organic debris and bird droppings. A dog will acquire this disease through the inhalation of infected spores.

The symptoms are seen in the respiratory system, with coughing, weight loss, and lameness being the most common. If left untreated, blastomycosis can result in pneumonia. Blastomycosis is treated using ketoconazole, fluconazole, or itraconazole.

Getting Canine Infections Diagnosed and Treated

If you think your dog might have a bacterial or fungal infection, you need to take her to the veterinarian for an examination as soon as possible. If your dog is diagnosed with a bacterial or fungal infection, then you can get any antibiotic or antifungal medications the vet prescribes for your dog for less at Diamondback Drugs. You can even receive a free quote for the medications so you know the cost before you have your scripts filled.

Try us today – Diamondback Drugs can help you get your dog the treatment she needs to recover while saving you money at the same time.

Author: Giano Panzarella