Animal Writes
31 October 2001 Issue
Anthrax & Dogs

from [email protected] 

I've spoken with some people @ CDC and the AVMA regarding anthrax and K9s. Unfortunately, there is very little information out there, but here is some info:

Dogs are 500 - 1000 times more resistant to Anthrax than people. The most common form in dogs is the gastrointestinal form since most dogs get anthrax by eating contaminated meat. I've told everyone that for working dogs, the most common route would be inhalation (dogs searching mail, etc). There is some evidence that it is less likely for dogs to get inhalation since most of the bacteria get stopped in their nose since it is so long. The thought is that if the dogs get inhalation form, the signs would be respiratory distress (breathing hard, acting very sick, bleeding from the nose/mouth). If the dog gets to this level, death is very likely.

Antibiotics that work on anthrax in the dog include: Penicillins, oxytetracyclines, and ciproflaxacin. Bottom line, if you think your dog was exposed, I'd DEFINITELY start treatment while the item is being tested.

As with a lot of poisonings, the success rate is very high if you intervene early, there is low risk treating even if its not anthrax and the prognosis is VERY POOR if it is anthrax and you didn't treat BEFORE signs occur.

Paul S. McNamara, DVM, DACVS
Veterinary Specialties Referral Center
1641 Main Street, Route 5S
Pattersonville, NY 12137
Ph: 518-887-2260
Fax: 518-887-2265

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