Definition of Anthrax
Anthrax is an ancient disease that can affect all warm-blooded animals, including dogs and people. It is caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria, which form spores when exposed to air and warm temperatures. Anthrax spores are extremely resistant to heat, cold, chemicals and dehydration. They can survive for years in soil and water and remain infectious throughout this time. The most common cause of anthrax in dogs is eating raw or undercooked contaminated meat or coming into physical contact with blood, tissues or bodily fluids from infected animals. People can become infected by inhaling anthrax spores, but dogs are relatively resistant to this route of infection. It takes about 3 to 7 days for anthrax to incubate and spread through a dog’s body. The bacteria produce potent and potentially fatal toxins. Many dogs with anthrax develop a swollen throat or neck shortly after they are infected. The most important step in controlling anthrax is the proper disposal of infected carcasses in accordance with official disease control regulations.