Clostridium in Dogs

Clostridium is a bacterial infection that affects dogs and will manifest mainly through diarrhea. There are 2 main types of clostridium bacteria that are more frequently met in dogs: the clostridium perfringens and clostridium difficile. The infection is typically treated with a course of antibiotics.

Clostridium Transmission in Dogs

The clostridium bacteria lodge in the intestinal tract of the dog and may be transmitted through contact with feces or the ingestion of these.

In some cases, the bacteria are transmitted through food that is infested. Only Clostridium difficile may be transmitted through food.

The clostridium bacteria produce endospores that are dormant structures that are resistant to harsh conditions and are difficult to eliminate.

Symptoms of a Dog Clostridium Infection

The clostridium infection will affect the intestinal tract of your dog and in some dogs, the infection will not show any symptoms. The body will be able to fight the infection and hinder the occurrence of the symptoms.

However, in some dogs, there may be some symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea, which can be severe
  • Dehydration, caused by diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Elevated fever
  • Lethargy

These symptoms may also be found in canines that are affected by other infections or parasites, so a diagnosis is necessary to find the cause and administer treatment.

Diagnosing Clostridium in Canines

Clostridium can be diagnosed by getting a fecal matter sample. A fecal smear can be analyzed and the vet can establish if the dog is affected by the clostridium infection and if so, which type of clostridium is present.

Other blood tests may also be performed to determine if the dog’s system is affected in any other way and to see if the dog is not affected by another more severe illness that weakens his immune system, making him more prone to infections.

Treating a Dog with Clostridium

The clostridium infection can be treated using oral antibiotics. The treatment will be prescribed according to the severity of the infection and the symptoms.

The treatment should be continued as indicated; if the antibiotics are discontinued without the indication of the vet, the dog can build up immunity to these antibiotics and the treatment will be more complicated and will involve the use of other types of antibiotics.

If the dog is affected by the Clostridium difficile bacteria, these can be eliminated through the administration of metronidazole, fusidic acid or bacitracin.

Preventing Clostridium

The clostridium infection may be prevented by making sure the food your dog receives is uncontaminated and is from a trustworthy source. The meat should be properly cooked.

It is also important to keep your dog away from other canines that may be affected by this infection and prevent your dog from eating feces.

If you have several dogs in your home and one of them is infected with clostridium, you will have to isolate him and make sure you get rid of his feces in a suitable manner.

The infection can be transmitted to humans as well, but most humans will fight off the infection and will not show any symptoms.