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Bacterial infection in puppy
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Bacterial infection in puppy

I recently put a deposit down on a Boston Terrier puppy from a reputable breeder.  The other day, my breeder informed me that my dog (male) went from one of the largest in the litter to the smallest.  I inquired as to why and the breeder responded that the pup had a rough time weaning and wasn't eating very much, however she was slowly assisting with high fat puppy formula and wet+dry food mixtures.  At the time, this seemed perfectly normal, as the process to dry food is a stressful one for the dog.

A few days later, my breeder informed me that my dog was definitely sick.  Vomiting, weight loss, no appetite, etc. and the dog would see a vet the next day.  The vet diagnosed the pup with a bacterial infection called Clostridium Flagella and noted that it was in the intestines and caused bloating and the other symptoms I listed.  The vet prescribed two types of antibiotics and 7 days of treatment (cefazolin and ditrim).

My breeder informed me that although this could have been fatal, it was hopefully caught soon enough and the dog should make a full recovery.  I believe my breeder, however I thought it would be a good idea to get a second opinion on the matter.  What concerns me is the pup's long-term health.  Meaning, is this bacterial infection the sign of a sickly or weak dog?  Is this something that comes back and attacks the dog over and over?  It is unsettling that the dog is sick so early in life, and this raises a red flag in my opinion.

I have not brought the dog home yet, and although I am already attached, if I can avoid it I do not want to bring home a dog that will constantly be at the vet and run up enormous bills.  I am hoping that this is just a freak/one time incident that any dog can get, and not something that comes back.  Any advice offered is greatly appreciated.
Type of Animal
:  
Dog
Age of Animal
:  
6.5 weeks
Sex of Animal
:  
Male
Breed of Animal
:  
Boston Terrier
Last date your pet was examined by a vet?
:  
May 22, 2012
City
:  
Chicago
State/Province
:  
IL
Country
:  
USA
Blood Test Results
:  
N/A
X-Ray Results
:  
N/A
Other pertinent test results
:  
Tested positive - Clostridium flagella
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As sad as it is to say, you may not wish to get too attached. Clostridium infections are usually self limiting and do not have any prolonged health concerns however a small percentage of them are due to immune system abnormalities, specifically immunoglobulinA deficiencies. This results in essentially a weakened immune system and this puppy may be susceptible to this infection (as well as other intestinal disorders) for years to come. Now that this has been diagnosed pet insurance likely will not cover him in the future for any intestinal disorders either.
If you do decide to adopt him make sure he is on a great diet, one your veterinarian recommends and I would be aggressive in prescribing regularly scheduled dewormings. The use of probiotics for the first 2-3 months would also be recommended.
2 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for the response.  This is quite upsetting, however you mention that it is only a prolonged issue in a small percentage of dogs.  Is this something a simple blood test could check for?  If the test exists and comes back positive, then I would go from there.  However if the test comes back negative, is this something I can just write off as a one time illness and forget about?

Regardless of the test results, the healthy diet, probiotics, and dewormings are definitely something I will be doing.

Thanks again.
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Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
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