If dog owners are lucky during the course of their animal’s life, they never have to deal with sickness or an infection or worry about their animal best friend’s health. We can all, as they say, hope for the best, but it’s also smart to prepare for anything. Sometimes, our pets get sick, and while we can usually tell when it’s time to take our animals to the vet, it never hurts to learn how to spot symptoms before they become more serious. For instance, dog owners (and cat owners as well) would do well to learn more about streptococcal infections and how they can affect our beloved pets.
Often called “strep throat,” a streptococcal infection is a bacterial infection, which is caused by the various types of streptococcus bacteria that people love to hate when they become infected with them. For dogs, age is usually the factor that determines an animal’s likelihood for developing a streptococcal infection. The youngest and oldest dogs possess weaker immune systems—puppies due to a lack of antibodies to fight the infection and the older because their antibodies have declined over time, leading to an immune system that isn’t as strong as it once was.
Other reasons for infection include fungi, viruses, and protozoa, which can result because of recent exposure by way of a surgical procedure or a wound.
Some of the typical symptoms pet owners should watch out for from this bacterial infection include the following:
- One or more abscesses
- Trouble swallowing because of swelling
Once a pet owner has gone to the vet and he or she has established that the dog has a streptococcal infection, the prescribed treatment will likely consist of hydration and a course of antibiotics. Pet owners can also try Manuka honey in addition to this treatment.
As well, pet owners need to be prepared for applying nursing care for their recovering dog, as it is a key part in helping him or her to recover from the streptococcal infection. Additionally, rehydration is also very important for replenishing the dog’s body with fluids and flushing out the infection from his or her system.
In terms of prevention, pet owners should avoid bringing their dogs to environments that could be overcrowded with other pets. Crowds are the easiest way for bacterial infections to spread, just as with humans. However, other than limiting contact to smaller crowds of animals, there aren’t any other recognized preemptive measures for streptococcal infections.
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