Causes of Diphtheria in Dogs

Diphtheria is a form of bacterial infection that distresses the patient’s upper respiratory tract. Patients suffering from diphtheria are commonly observed to have low fever, sore throat, and presence of adherent membranes on the tonsils, nasal cavity, or the pharynx. Veterinarians still argue about the presence of diphtheria in canines. However, there are evidences that diphtheria can really be acquired by dogs. Dogs sick with diphtheria exhibit symptoms, such as difficulty both in swallowing and breathing, fever, chills, and fatigue.

The causes of diphtheria in dogs are found to be similar to what causes diphtheria in human beings.

Airborne Transmission

Diphtheria can be acquired by dogs if they inhale air contaminated with Corynebacterium diphtheria, a kind of bacterium that causes diphtheria. When an infected patient coughs or sneezes, the bacteria are contained in the air the diseased person or animal exhales, thereby infecting any dog or human inhaling that air.

Direct Contact with Secretion

The bacterium causing diphtheria can also be found in the secretions of a person or dog infected with this disease. If the dog, or a person for that matter, establishes direct contact with the infected secretion, the disease can possibly spread.

Direct Contact with Skin Ulcers

A skin ulcer is a wound or lesion found on the skin or a mucus membrane. Its presence is accompanied with the breakdown of the tissue. One of the many causes of skin ulcers is bacterial infection and, in this case, it is diphtheria. Since diphtheria caused the skin ulcer, the bacteria are also thriving on that sore. Direct contact with that infected wound can cause the spread of the disease from the infected patient to the vulnerable individual be it dog or human.

Infected Items

Diphtheria may also spread through household items and personal belongings. Any form of secretion from a person or dog infected with diphtheria can be in direct contact with an object. This object becomes a carrier of the infection and either a dog or person vulnerable to the disease may contract it simply by touching the infected object. Though getting diphtheria due to contaminated objects is a rarity, it remains a possibility.

Risk Factors

A person or dog is more likely to acquire diphtheria in crammed and dirty spaces. Moreover, unvaccinated and undernourished dogs and humans are also more susceptible to this disease.

Diphtheria used to be a dreadful epidemic that took many lives. Today, with the advancement of medical technology, diphtheria no longer serves as a threat and can actually be prevented. Vaccines are available to immunize both people and canines from this disease. In fact, the diphtheria serum has already been a part of the regular dog vaccination process. Moreover, diphtheria nowadays happened to be mere isolated cases.