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Treating Anthrax in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Anthrax

Treating Anthrax

The anthrax disease occurs as a result of exposure to the spore-forming bacterium named Bacillus anthracis. The spore naturally occurs in soil, and the anthrax disease is most commonly seen in animals such as cows, sheep, and goats. Dogs are believed to be highly resistant to anthrax infection, but there have been cases where dogs were infected with anthrax. These cases occurred when the dog ate contaminated meat from an animal that had an anthrax infection.

There are three forms of anthrax disease which can occur: cutaneous, inhalational, or gastrointestinal. Cutaneous and inhalational anthrax infection develops as a result of anthrax coming into contact with the skin or direct inhalation of the spores; gastrointestinal anthrax occurs from ingesting the spores. To date, there are no recorded cases of cutaneous or inhalational anthrax in dogs; only the gastrointestinal form has been recorded.

While anthrax is a serious and sometimes fatal disease, it can be cured if treatment is begun in time. The primary treatment of anthrax in dogs is a course of penicillin antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, or the tetracycline antibiotic doxycycline. Supportive care may also be given in instances where the dog is suffering from severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. In these cases the dog is given anti-diarrheal and vomiting medications, a protectant for the lining of the stomach and esophagus, and electrolytic fluids to combat dehydration and shock.

Anthrax is not a contagious disease, and pet owners can treat their dogs at home if the symptoms have not affected the dog severely.

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