It is commonly mistaken for Parvovirus, but needs different treatment.  It's a BACTERIAL imbalance in the digestive tract. It is a disease that produces acute infectious diarrhea in puppies and kittens.  This is NOT a new form of Parvo. Parvo tests will show a LOW positive & subsequent tests will continue to show low positives, will be inconclusive, or will give erratic results. This disease is so similar to Parvo, that some dogs have tested in the low positive for Parvo. But they do not have Parvo, and it has been recommended that three parvo tests are needed to exclude Parvo.

Mode of infection is varied, but mostly from contact with urine, feces, or something brought in on shoes, etc. It is also acquired by contact with contaminated food, water or, raw meat (poultry, beef).  Symptoms usually start 12-48 hrs after initial contact & spread to susceptible dogs rapidly (young or weaker dogs). Signs of acute infection include vomiting and a watery, mucus, and sometimes bloody diarrhea. Pups have a difficult time surviving, but if caught quick enough (before anorexia), no one dies. Death occurs because of dehydration. Some dogs get better without treatment. Humans can contact this disease from animals. The incubation period is one to seven days.  The disease usually runs its course in five to fifteen days.  Antibiotics may be advisable.

This disease can be tested for specifically, so if you have an affected dog that appears to have Parvo, but in your mind know that, that could not be possible, have them tested for "Camby". It is important to note that this disease can be transferred between humans, dogs, cats and other livestock.  It starts with fecal mucus sheath & continues to get progressively softer until it is watery and contains blood. It then becomes explosive. Vomiting may accompany and may or may not also contain blood. Feces have a sweet/flowery aroma along with a "slaughterhouse on a summer day" smell (similar to parvo diarrhea but with a floral hint). Feces are usually mustard colored. Dogs dehydrate at an astounding rate. Dogs are also at risk of intussusception .  

Do NOT automatically assume Parvo when you see this. Parvo treatments have killed the majority of Campylobacteriosis dogs.  

What is happening is that there is a bacterial growth in the digestive tract which throws it off balance. The body is trying to counteract this by removing the extra (or offending) bacteria. It seems to do this by trying to remove ALL body fluids as quickly as possible. Death is caused by massive dehydration. From the 1st signs of symptoms, death can be as short as 12 hrs, or as long as 7 days. The younger the dog, the worse it is. The key is to treat this as fast as possible before the dogs go anorexic AND to treat ALL dogs on the premises (erythromycin is the treatment of choice).  

After the diarrhea has stopped, you can cram the dog as full of fluids as you want, just not when it is at its most fragile point. You don't want to shock an already shocked system. Also, DO NOT flea-dip/worm/vaccinate at this time, PLEASE!!!!!  Anorexic dogs have to be tempted to eat again. Rare, bloody, slightly garlicky & slightly salty beef has worked the best in the past for getting the appetites working. Start small. You may have to give anorexic dogs Nutri-Cal to get them going again. But after they are cured they WILL begin to eat again.


Information compiled from "The dog owner's home veterinary handbook" and "The 5-minute veterinary consult"




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