Actinomycosis is actually a bacterial infection caused by a gram positive bacteria in Actinomyces Genus. Actinomyces are an anaerobic species of bacteria that can cause infection under the skin or other parts of the body.
Usually they are found in the oral cavities and nasal passages of dogs, but cuts or tiny grass particles would allow them to penetrate more deeply and proliferate to form an abscess. This condition is called Actinomycosis.Actinomyces is rarely found as the single bacterial agent in a lesion. It is more often a component of a polymicrobial infection with several bacteria present. In fact, there may even be synergism between Actinomyces and other organisms.
Symptoms of Actinomycosis infection in Dogs
Signs of this infection can really be different depending on the infection area :
- Skin swellings or abscesses with draining tracts; sometimes yellow granules
- Drainage tracts close to the site of infection
- Osteomyelitis (Inflammation in Bone or Bone Marrow)
- Sores and abscesses in the mouth, face, or neck
- Serosanguinous drainage (containing blood and plasma)
- Pus drainage that contains sulphur-like grains
- Pain or swelling in the jaw
- Weight loss
- Difficult or rapid breathing
- Pyothorax (infection of the chest cavity)
- Orbital infection
- Urinary infection (rare)
- Changes in behavior
Causes of Actinomycosis infection in Dogs
Actinomycosis is considered as an opportunistic infection; i.e., Actinomyces spp. is a normal inhabitant of dog's mouth, but cuts, scrapes, or bite wounds in the mucosa or skin can cause an imbalance in the bacterial microenvironment. Other risk factors include periodontal disease and immunosuppressive disorders.
- Cut or wound (especially in the mouth)
- Penetration or swallowing of a foreign body
- Exposure to long grass
- Chronic periodontal disease
- Poor dental hygiene
- Lung cancer
- Prior surgery
- Concurrent ear or eye infection
- Spending time outside
- Higher incidence among large breed hunting dogs
Diagnosis of Actinomycosis infection in Dogs
This is needed that you provide your veterinarian with a complete history of your dog’s health, involving recent injuries.Your Vet
will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, complete blood count, and electrolyte panel. X-rays of dogs with actinomycosis will typically demonstrate periosteal (outer layer of bone) new bone production, reactive osteosclerosis (hardening of bone), and osteolysis (dissolution of bone).
For a more definitive diagnosis your veterinarian will submit a specimen of pus or osteolytic bone fragments for culturing. Gram staining, cytology, and acid-fast staining may also be employed.
Treatment of Actinomycosis infection in Dogs
Abscesses will be drained and lavaged for several days. In some cases, a penrose drain will be utilized, whereby a soft rubber tube is placed in the affected area to prevent fluid buildup. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian may also need to debride (cut open and/or remove tissue) or remove bone, which will require surgery.
Usually a systemic antibiotic for a minimum of 4-6 weeks is needed. The choice antibiotic for Actinomycosis is Beta-lactam penicillin-type antibiotics but other antibiotics have also proved effective and may be recommended by your vet
. In cased with serious pneumonia, Oxygen might be needed.
Management of Actinomycosis infection in Dogs
Observe the affected area for signs of infection and contact a veterinarian if the following signs are noted: itching, swelling, redness and/or draining. Otherwise, your veterinarian will schedule regular follow-up appointments to monitor your pet closely for recurrence. Redevelopment of infection at the initial site should be expected in about half of the cases.
Recovery will depend on the severity of your dog’s condition. Localized infections usually respond to antibiotic treatment. Infections of the chest cavity can also often be treated if an antibiotic is prescribed early in the progression of the disease.
- Some parts are taken from PetMd.com