Advice to Veterinarians

Final Update

Published on April 15, 2021

This investigation is over. CDC continues to work with state public health officials to monitor for new illnesses. Although the investigation is over, people can still get a Campylobacter infection from dogs. Always take steps to stay healthy around your dog.

  • Puppies (dogs under 12 months old) or dogs adopted from crowded environments or from pet stores who show signs of Campylobacter infection—such as diarrhea, which can be bloody or mucoid—should be examined by a licensed veterinarian who may perform a gram-stained fecal smear to identify Campylobacter-like organisms and perform other diagnostic tests as appropriate.
  • Laboratory confirmation of Campylobacter infection can be made from a fecal sample transported in Cary-Blair medium, or a quantitative-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from a fresh stool sample, in consultation with a veterinary diagnostic lab.
  • Isolate dogs with Campylobacter illness to prevent the spread of the bacteria. Campylobacter infections are often self-limited, and supportive care is often the only treatment needed.
  • If laboratory testing confirms Campylobacter infection and the dog has bloody diarrhea or a fever and your judgement is that antibiotic treatment is warranted, culture and sensitivity results should guide the choice of antibiotic.
    • The antibiotic-resistance profile for this outbreak includes commonly used antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones and macrolides.
    • Campylobacter jejuni has inherent resistance to other commonly prescribed antibiotics such as penicillins, cephalosporins, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, and metronidazole.
    • Infections with the outbreak strain may be difficult to treat.

Thoroughly clean surfaces and equipment that have been in contact with stool from any dog suspected to have a Campylobacter infection.

Talk to pet owners about taking simple steps to prevent getting sick from their dogs.

  • Tell clients that dogs can carry Campylobacter and can make people sick even if they look healthy and clean. If the client or any of their family members develop a diarrheal illness, encourage them to contact a healthcare provider.
  • Direct clients to CDC’s Advice for Pet Owners.