About Anthrax and Its Effects on Your Dogs
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About Anthrax and Its Effects on Your Dogs

Anthrax is caused by a bacteria that affects humans and animals alike. This zoonotic disease cannot be passed on among humans but is contagious from animal to animal. Dogs can become infected from other infected animals.

Several years ago there was a huge scare in the USA with anthrax and its' threatening effects on humans. Anthrax in the form of powder was threatening as our "enemies" sent the Anthrax  through the mail. Anthrax is a form of bacteria.  Bacillus anthracis is the bacterial germ responsible for the cause of Anthrax, an old well-known infection that can affect both animals and humans. This zoonotic infectious disease has been found to affect mostly farm animals such as cattle, horses, sheep and goats which can be fatal. A zoonotic disease is one that can be passed on from animal to animal and animal to human. However, zoonotic infectious diseases such as anthrax are not contagious from human to human. Dogs can be infected with anthrax through contact with a tainted farm animal, its products or waste, according to Pet Wave.

Bacillus anthracis form spores which are an asexual seed type organism that lives and multiplies in unfavorable conditions while exposed to oxygen. Spores can live in soil and water for many years and can be passed on through an animals’ wool, hide, carcass, or any other product. The spores enter an animal’s body and cause the anthrax infectious disease. Pigs and dogs are more resistant to the anthrax infection which can cause swelling in the neck area.

Dogs are most often immune to anthrax and with proper monitoring of our pets; their exposure to the disease can and should be limited. If your dog becomes contaminated with the bacterial disease through animal carcass, feces or other infected products while outside, early detection can result in successful recovery. In order to do so, we as the pet parents must be observant to the symptoms of the disease as stated by the Pet Place. Your dog may exhibit signs of swelling in the throat, tonsils, tongue and lymph nodes, ulcers or sores on the tonsils, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation as well as loss of appetite, lethargy and any blood discharge from the mouth and/or rectum. If contaminated, your dog would show gastrointestinal symptoms within 3 – 7 days. The spread of this bacterial infectious disease is more prevalent in the West and Mid-Western states.

There are three forms of the anthrax infectious disease; cutaneous, inhalational and gastrointestinal. Dogs most often are not affected by the cutaneous or inhalant varieties, which are passed on through skin contact or inhalation of the spores. Dogs are affected through the gastrointestinal form of anthrax. In order to treat the disease successfully, medication therapy should begin immediately. The primary treatment is an aggressive form of penicillin therapy along with electrolytic fluid therapy, possible medications for vomiting and diarrhea as well as a protectant for the lining of the stomach and esophagus. Hospitalization may be necessary in severe cases or you may care for your dog at home in less critical cases. Extreme caution should be taken while treating your dog to avoid contamination to others while in recovery. Follow specific instructions set forth by your veterinarian until your dog gets a clean bill of health.

Anthrax is most often rare in dogs and can be totally avoided with proper monitoring of your beloved pet. Never allow your dog to roam, keep it in a well protected, fenced-in yard and check your yard to be sure it is completely safe for your dog.


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