How does a dog contract sepsis? A Comprehensive Guide

What are the symptoms of Sepsis?

How does a dog contract sepsis?

If you notice sluggish behavior in your dog or they are “just not themselves”, review these symptoms to see if something may be wrong:

  • Loss of appetite/not eating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • The most common form of sepsis starts as a G.I. problem. The first three may be the initial signals that something is wrong.

    Sepsis is an infection which overwhelms the body, resulting in severe inflammation. Without treatment, it can escalate into Septic Shock, causing multi-organ failure (kidneys, lungs, liver).

    Diagnosing Sepsis in Dogs

    If you suspect that your dog has developed sepsis, an immediate visit to your veterinarian is necessary. A full physical examination and patient history will be obtained prior to your veterinarian running diagnostic tests. A complete blood count, serum chemistry panel, urinalysis, and blood culture sample may be obtained. A fever and increased white blood cell count, respiratory rate, and heart rate are indicators that your dog has sepsis, but finding the root cause and initial location of the infection may require more testing.

    Depending on what your veterinarian finds during their physical examination, X-rays may also be taken. A CT scan, MRI, ultrasounds, ECG readings, and other tests may be recommended based on where your veterinarian thinks the sepsis originated.

    Your veterinarian may put your dog on antibiotics even before sepsis is confirmed as the diagnosis, as delaying antibiotic treatments can greatly decrease the survival rate when dealing with sepsis. They will likely begin by taking a blood sample to be examined in the laboratory, then immediately starting IV antibiotics to fight the infection as soon as possible.

    Depending on the cause of the sepsis, surgery may be needed, but IV fluids and antibiotics will be administered regardless of where the sepsis originated. IV fluids can be given to your dog to increase its blood pressure in addition to medications that increase blood flow to major organs. Various medications to treat different types of illnesses that may result in sepsis may also be used alongside oxygen therapy.

    Septic Shock in Dogs | Wag!

    Sepsis is a major cause of death in dogs as well as humans. Sepsis can occur with the onset of infection or a traumatic injury. Death can come swiftly once sepsis sets in, often occurring within hours of the dog showing symptoms.

    When a dog has an injury or infection, the immune system releases cells to sterilize the wound or combat infection. This can damage healthy tissues, which may become hot, red and inflamed. If the immune system in the dog is not up-to-par, sepsis can set in. Sepsis is difficult to diagnose early, and once the dog has symptoms, can turn into a life-threatening situation.

    The leading cause of sepsis in dogs, originates in the GI tract. Canine parvoviral enteritis, is the most common cause of sepsis in dogs. Puppies and younger dogs are most likely to contract this condition.

    Another cause of sepsis in dogs is the presence of pneumonia in the respiratory tract. Bacterial pneumonia can cause sepsis and death in dogs of all ages. This condition must be diagnosed and treated quickly to achieve the best outcome for the dog.

    Diseases of the teeth and gums can cause sepsis. It is important to clean your dogs teeth on a regular basis to avoid this scenario.

    Wounds that become infected are a cause of sepsis in dogs. This can include wounds from auto accidents or altercations with other animals.

    Gram-negative infections, such as E. coli, are a common cause of sepsis in dogs. However, any bacterial, parasitic, viral or fungal organism can cause this condition to occur.

    Tracy Hodge has been a professional writer since 2007. She currently writes content for various websites, specializing in health and fitness. Hodge also does ghostwriting projects for books, as well as poetry pieces. She has studied nutrition extensively, especially bodybuilding diets and nutritional supplements.