Bartonella Infection In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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(Image source: Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images)

Bartonella infection is a disease that is transmitted to dogs by insects, including lice, fleas, and ticks. It is a relatively new disease that can be transmitted to cats and humans as well, with cases affecting the latter often known as cat scratch disease.

In general, dogs that live a lot of time outdoors and in tick-infected environments are at the highest risk of infection because of the way the infection spreads.

If you see signs that your dog has an infection it is important to consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Bartonella infection in dogs.

Symptoms of Bartonella infection in dogs

Bartonella infection in dogs can lead to a number of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • fever
  • Inflamed eyes, nose and lymph nodes
  • Acting lame
  • Nosebleeds and discharge
  • diarrhea
  • cough
  • Vomit

Causes of Bartonella Infection in Dogs

Tick ​​attached to a dog's skin that sucks blood.  Berlin, Germany

(Image credit: Aitor Diago / Getty Images)

Bartonella infection in dogs often spreads via insects, including ticks, fleas, lice, and sand flies.

Dogs that spend time outdoors in rural areas are at higher risk of infection, especially hunting and working dogs.

Veterinary treatments

If you suspect your dog may have Bartonella infection, your veterinarian will do a comprehensive physical exam. You order a full set of laboratory tests, including blood and urine tests.

Atypical liver enzyme levels often indicate a potential infection.

When it comes to treatment, veterinarians often prescribe antibiotics to try to cure the disease; although, at the time of writing, there is no recognized antibiotic that has definitely been shown to be effective against the infection.

Some of the drugs veterinarians have tried to fight the infection are amoxicillin, doxycycline, and enrofloxacin.

In general, the best way to keep your dog safe from infection is to restrict their access to areas where insects like ticks and fleas could live.

In addition, if a human is bitten by a dog that tests positive for the infection, they should see a doctor right away.

Has Your Dog Ever Got Bartonella Infection? How did you recover? Tell us all about it in the comments below.