A bacterial infection is a temporary condition that can affect any part of the body, including the skin, bones and joints. Bacterial infections can be found in all animals, and can effectively be treated by a variety of antibiotics. Although the body is typically a host to many different types of bacteria, bacterial infections occur when the levels of bacteria in the body rise above normal, or a harmful form of bacteria enters the body, an infection will develop. The body’s natural response to this invasion or excess of bacteria is made through the immune system, which takes about a week to produce the antibodies that can fight off the infection. During this period between the beginning of infection and employment of antibodies, antibiotics can be used to help your pet recover from an infection.
There are many variations of bacterial infections, each specific to a certain species of animal and the area of infection, and therefore there are many different indications that your pet may be experiencing bacterial infection symptoms. In cases of discospondylitis, a bacterial infection of the vertebrae that is primarily found in cats, symptoms may include weight loss, lack of appetite, back pain, fever and depression. Tularemia, a bacterial infection that appears in many different types of animals, has a different set of symptoms, including change in body temperature, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and listlessness. It may be difficult to determine if your pet has a bacterial infection based on their symptoms; however, if your pet seems unwell, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for an examination. Your veterinarian will diagnose a bacterial infection based on a blood test that evaluates the number of antibodies in your pet’s system.
Your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic to help your pet recover from their bacterial infection, depending on the severity of their infection and the number of antibodies present in their blood. Your veterinarian may perform a ‘culture and sensitivity’ test, by collecting a sample of your pet’s bacteria from the area of infection and spreading them across a culture plate. Different types of antibiotic would then be distributed onto the culture plate and observed for bacteria sensitivity. Because many modern strains of bacteria have developed immunities to different types of antibiotic, performing a ‘culture and sensitivity’ test before administering any medication will ensure that your pet is treated as effectively as possible. Antibiotics come in many different forms, based on the area of your pet’s infection, your veterinarian may recommend a topical antibiotic, oral antibiotic or an antibiotic administered by means of injection.