Recognize Tuberculosis in Dogs

dog-with-ear-infection-by-flikr-and-doggies-are-from-heavenDogs can be infected by a bacterial known as Tuberculosis. There are two bacterial types of tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Mycobacterium bovis tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) is not only a respiratory condition but can also affect the intestines. TB most often gets into the lungs (the primary target) as well as distressing the nervous system, lymphatic’s, genito-urinary tract, as well as the bones and joints. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.

Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is most commonly affecting humans, can also be passed onto our pets as well through airborne contamination, i.e.,., coughing and sneezing. This is a slow-growing intracellular organism, with only about 5% of those infected with the bacterium developing the disease.

Mycobacterium Bovis Tuberculosis

The Mycobacterium bovis tuberculosis mostly affects cattle and wildlife, though humans and pets alike can be infected through consumption of contaminated dairy products and infected meat. This form of TB has hard to diagnose signs of the disease in your dog until the disease is extremely advanced, leaving few treatment options.

Dogs More Susceptible

It seems to affect young dogs as well as the aged and dogs with a weak immune system. The disease is passed on through sneezing and coughing, spread between dogs and humans.  Most often a dog gets the TB from an infected person.


Some of the common symptoms besides coughing and sneezing may be depression, weight loss, dehydration, vomiting, increased thirst, urination, and jaundice. TB can sometimes be tough to diagnose.


In treating the TB, the dog undergoes numerous tests. Additionally, biochemical profile, blood count, a TB skin test, x-rays and culture along with cytology may be necessary for diagnosing your pet. The TB skin test was first developed by Koch from the glycerine extract of the tubercle bacilli.  What happens is that the dog with TB is highly allergic to tuberculin substances. When injected through the skin test, there will be a hypersensitive reaction on the surface of the skin.


Prognosis for dogs most often is not okay, and we can only hope our pets are never affected by this disease. On rare occasions, a drug treatment plan may be put in place by your veterinarian if your dog has been diagnosed at a very early stage.

You can work on building up your dog’s immune system, with proper nutrients and supplements (per the advice of your veterinarian). There will be a better chance for your dog’s resistance to TB and recovery.


In areas where there is the presence of wildlife and cattle, you may take some precautionary steps to keep your pets free from contracting the disease. Keep dogs indoors unless adequately monitored and don’t allow them to have access to unpasteurized dairy products or dead meats.

Be cautious if any humans in the home have contracted the disease. Since the bacteria are so quickly passed on, be sure to seek medical attention immediately and determine measures to protect your dog.

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