Definition of Helicobacter Infection
Helicobacter are bacteria commonly found in the digestive tract of dogs, cats and people. These organisms are unique in their ability to survive and thrive in the harsh acidic environment of the stomach, which is hostile to most other bacteria. Helicobacter produce urease and other substances that damage the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Oral-oral and oral-fecal routes are the most likely way that helicobacter are transmitted between dogs. Flies and other insects may also play a part. In many cases, helicobacter don’t make dogs sick, although it’s not clear why some dogs develop disease while others do not. Certainly, the health of an animal’s immune system plays a role. When symptoms do develop, they usually involve irritation and inflammation of the tissues lining the stomach and small intestine, causing nausea, pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Fortunately, reliable tests are available to diagnose helicobacter infection, which is treatable.