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What Are the Symptoms of a Bacterial Infection in a Dog?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Many different types of bacterial infections can affect dogs. Bacterial infections may be a primary condition or a secondary infection associated with a virus such as parainfluenza. Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.


Dogs can contract many types of bacterial infections. Common types include ear infections, eye infections, gastrointestinal infections, brucellosis, skin infections, leptospirosis and many more.


Since many types of bacterial infections can affect dogs, symptoms can vary greatly. Redness and irritation of the skin, ears or eyes could indicate a bacterial infection, as might diarrhea and/or vomiting.


Only a veterinarian can diagnose a dog with a bacterial infection. It may be necessary to culture a sample from the affected area and examine it under a microscope in order to determine if a dog has a bacterial infection, and, if so, what treatment will be effective.


Bacterial infections are treated primarily with antibiotics. Nursing care, including warmth, plenty of fluids and easily digestible food, can help your dog recover more quickly.


Dogs with viral infections may present with symptoms very similar to those with bacterial infections. In most cases of viral infection, the use of antibiotics is unnecessary and may be harmful.