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dog has bartonella on antibiotics doxycycline-azithromycin 8 months little help

my shih Tzu mix has possible bartonellahe has been on azithromycin and doxycycline for about 8 months some improvement but not much is there any thing else I can try to cure this


1 Answer

I am sorry to hear that your Shih Tzu has been unwell for sometime. Bartonellosis is caused by infection with Bartonella bacteria and can affect dogs, cats and humans as well as several other species. There are many different species of Bartonella that make treatment somewhat difficult. The bacteria can infect red blood cells as well as the cells lining blood vessels and the heart. By living inside these cells it tends to avoid attack by the dogs immune system and antibiotics. The bacteria is also very good at genetically altering itself which further protects it from destruction. Infection occurs mainly from fleas, ticks and biting flies so it is very important to maintain flea and tick prevention in your dog – even if infection is already suspected. Diagnosis is possible but can be very difficult without a sample of an organ or tissue which is actively infected. Blood tests may reveal infection also but not reliable. Dogs infected with Bartonella show various symptoms, including weight loss, anaemia, hepatitis, bleeding from the nose, infection of the inside of the eye (uveitis) or retina, infection of the heart or heart muscle and infection of the joints. Symptoms may be subtle or severe and unfortunately not restricted to just being due to Bartonella. Treatment is difficult as the antibiotics need to be able to cross into the infected cells where the bacteria is living. Azithromycin, doxycycline and enrofloxacin are all commonly used to treat Bartonella infection and may be required for several weeks to kill the bacteria. Dogs that are infected with Bartonella are susceptible to secondary infections due to suppression of their immune system. I would recommend that if no improvement has been seen in 8 months, then a review of the initial diagnosis should occur. Alternatively there may be permanent organ damage which is now causing symptoms and needs to be dealt with separately. I wish your little Shih Tzu the best of luck in overcoming this illness.


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