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E. coli (Escherichia coli) in Dogs: Infection and Prevention

October 13, 2022

Escherichia coli (E. coli) may infect humans, dogs, and cats, and it can move from animals to humans and vice versa. The bacteria is one of the most prevalent varieties known around the globe, and it inhabits the digestive tracts of all mammals. Under some conditions, this bacterium is also capable of causing illness.

Enterotoxigenic E. coli, for instance, is an example of a disease-causing E. coli strain. This kind of E.coli bacterium typically causes foodborne disease. When a person consumes contaminated food or drink, the sickness might emerge. In the case of enterotoxigenic E. coli, these bacteria create a toxin that attacks the inner lining of the infected intestine, resulting in diarrhea.

E. coli Infection in Dogs

Dogs can become sick with E. coli in the same manner as humans: by consuming or drinking contaminated food or water. There have been several recalls of commercial dog food diets and treats due to E. coli contamination. Ingestion of certain meals and treats may induce illness in your dog, and he or she may also become an unpleasant disease carrier.

To safeguard your pets, keep an eye out for product recalls and E. coli-related news. There is a worry that giving your pet raw food may raise the danger of E. coli transmission through the feces. Thus, it is crucial to remain current on nutrition facts. Consider switching to a raw meal with the vet-recommended diet without raw components, especially for breeding dogs.

Clinical Signs and Diagnosis

Depression, dehydration, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and vomiting are some of the most frequent symptoms reported in animals and humans infected with E. coli. In dogs, E. coli can cause colibacillosis, a condition that typically affects the lower intestines. Although the bacterium is normally harmless, it can have a significant impact on newborn puppies, especially those lacking important nutrients such as colostrum from their mother's milk.

E. coli will disproportionately afflict frail animals, the very young or very elderly, malnourished animals, and pets with damaged immune systems. However, as with other bacterial illnesses, the diagnosis cannot be verified just by a physical exam. Your veterinarian must perform a culture test on blood, urine, or feces samples in which the bacteria are grown and identified on a culture plate to confirm the diagnosis.

Prevention Tips

Prevention is the greatest E. coli protection. Hygienic practices are the most effective way to avoid infection:

  • Utilize proper food handling procedures when cooking food. For example, properly cook all meat before feeding it to your dog. 
  • Use proper hygiene, including regular and thorough hand washing. Teach youngsters proper hygiene. Ensure that all individuals wash their hands after handling your dog's food.
  • Avoid consuming water from sources that may contain contaminants.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products with caution.
  • Before feeding fruits and veggies to your dog, you must carefully clean them.

Do you want to know about more health problems in dogs, read our blog? 


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