S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2005
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
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S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
Recently, while conversing with a friend, who by the way was the third person to relate a similar nightmare, it became evident that another alert was necessary to save the lives of our dogs. The first time my friends told me about a health problem in their kennel, not even the vet knew what it was or how to treat it. Two years later, another friend had a similar situation at their kennel. Both lost several show/breeding dogs along with several puppies. After a recent show in the Midwest, another friend had dogs get sick and die from a disease that looks like, acts like and occasionally tests like Parvo (low-grade.)

This malady has been nicknamed the “Dog Show Crud” among those who have experienced it. According to some reports, its real moniker is Campylobacter. THIS IS A DEADLY BACTERIA. It kills within 12-24 hours after the onset of symptoms that usually manifest as simple diarrhea. Most owners will watch when an animal exhibits diarrhea, remove food or switch to a bland diet and expect improvement in short order. Not so if the illness is caused by “The Crud.” The diarrhea progresses quickly and is usually accompanied by vomiting as the animal’s body tries to eliminate the bacteria. However, the body is also eliminating all fluids rapidly causing trauma and death in a short period of time.

Campylobacter is not a new bacteria. It has long been associated with undercooked foods, unclean sanitation, fecal and urine exposure from cow, horses, sheep, etc. It can be transmitted across species lines including humans.

After examining the situations mentioned above, I began accumulating information from their personal experiences and the Internet. Remembering that website info is just that and not a substitute for professional veterinary expertise, it can be used as another piece of a puzzle that might help if “The Crud” occurs in your kennel. Hopefully, just being aware of the disease and it’s symptoms will help if it happens to any of your dogs.

I had the opportunity to see a vet in Texas last year for a healthy litter check. In our discussion, I asked if he’d heard about Dog Show Crud. He wasn’t aware of it but had a dog from a local breeder dying at his clinic. This breeder had already lost several of his animals from what they were treating as Parvo. The vet took the limited information I had at the time, intending to investigate other references that very day. Having more information out in the dog community makes it better for all of us.

The following quotes or articles are two of the most specific dialogues from Internet sources that I was able to find. Hopefully, this information will be something to store in the back of the brain for future reference.

“ ‘The Crud’ is a Bacterial overgrowth in the digestive tract. It will sometimes test low positive for Parvovirus. It is NOT a new form of Parvo although symptoms are quite similar to Parvo. Crud dogs do not have a high temperature, nor will they have intestinal lesions. If a normal fecal is run on feces that are not quite to the watery and bloody stage, it will show a very high bacterial content and will be negative for Parvo (usually.)

Any one of the normal bacteria found in the digestive tract will go into overgrowth. The mystery is what triggers it. Possibly infected urine/feces or something brought in on shoes or clothing or from a visiting dog. We know what cures it and what to do when a dog hasn’t been treated quickly enough. And, of course, we know the end results with a dog that dies of it.
Symptoms start 12-48 hours after initial contact (usually) and may spread to other dogs rapidly.

Dogs are alert, hungry, energetic. Normal feces starts with a mucus sheath, continues to get progressively softer until it becomes explosive diarrhea. Vomiting may or may not accompany. Feces have a sweet/flowery aroma along with a “slaughterhouse-on-a-summer-day” smell. Feces are “usually” mustard colored then become bloody. Dogs dehydrate at an astounding rate. Dogs are also at risk of intussusceptions.

The younger or weaker the dog, the worse it is. Some dogs may never get it, even though they may be kenneled with an affected dog. Some dogs also get over this without treatment.

The key is to treat this as fast as possible before the dogs go anorexic AND to treat ALL the dogs on the premises (non-affected dogs should get ONE capsule.) Treatment is 250mg Cephalexin per 25 pounds of body weight. Pups may get Ceph-drops. This MUST be given orally NOT I/V-it MUST go through the digestive tract. If the dog vomits the pill up, just give it again until it stays down. Give another dose approximately 8-12 hours later. If the dog returns to normal, DO NOT medicate again.

DO NOT use an IV drip on a Crud dog. Their circulatory systems will be very depressed. If a vein can be found, it may not be able to support an IV. Use Lactated Ringers Solution SUB-Q and force electrolytes orally (Pedialyte.)

I have to stress not to continue the drug after the dogs stop the diarrhea. The important thing is to treat them ONLY until the symptoms stop. Also, sometimes, affected Crud dogs are not able to handle IV support because of circulatory collapse from massive dehydration. What a quandary since IV is the fastest way to rehydrate. So, giving fluids under the skin is best and ONLY give until the drug starts to work. Afterwards, IV is fine. Since the drug works so quickly, this is not too much of an issue. The whole point is to keep them “going” until the drug has time to work-usually a few short hours.

IV rehydration HAS thrown Crud affected dogs into deep shock and it has been found that some dogs have a complete shutdown of renal system, leakage of renal and intestinal fluids into various organs, circulatory and intestinal ruptures, etc. Not sure this was directly related to being IV’d, but in every instance, this has occurred directly after IV support was started. It is not the case when there is no IV support.

Also, DO NOT flea-dip/worm/vaccinate at this time, PLEASE!!!!

Do NOT automatically assume Parvo when you see this. This is NOT Parvo, it is a BACTERIAL overgrowth in the digestive tract.

Do NOT use Amoxycillin. Dogs should show improvement within hours of treatment using the correct drug.
(Disclaimer: This information has been compiled from reports received by treating veterinarians and owners. The information written is what has worked previously. This information should be taken to any veterinarian who is treating dogs with this problem. No one that does not have veterinary training should diagnose and medicate their own dogs.)”

And another source:

Campbylobacter is a form of food poison It can be passed from people to dogs and then, back to people again. It is also referred to as “Show Crud” as it is very common in show dogs.

This disease is becoming more wide spread. As the winter begins to pass into early spring each year, a new wave of deaths occurs from this. And each year, the question comes up again: “Is this a new strain of Parvo” and each time there are 100 different replies.

This disease is so similar to Parvo, that some dogs have tested in the low positive for Parvo. In most cases they DO NOT have Parvo and it has been recommended that three Parvo tests are needed to exclude Parvo. This disease seems to move from the West to the East through the dog shows.

It is medically known as CAMPYLOBACTERIOSIS, the name of the organism causing this is Campylobacter Jejuni. This disease can be tested for specifically, though some vets don’t know about it. Bring it to their attention that you might have an affected dog that appears to have Parvo, but in your mind know that could not be possible, and have them tested for Campylobacter. It is important to note that this disease can be transferred between humans, dogs, cats and other livestock. Many vets today are reporting that a cure for Parvo has been established when they actually are treating and curing Campylobacter and don’t realize it.
The Campylobacter Jejuni is a Gram-Negative, slender curved and motile rod. It is a species of bacteria that resembles small tightly coiled spirals. It’s organisms are known to cause abortion in sheep and fever and stomach inflammation in man and may be associated with enteric diseases of calves, lambs and other animals. A genus of bacteria found in the reproductive organs, intestinal tract and oral cavity of animals and man. Some species are pathogenic. It is a microaerophilic organism, which means it has a requirement of reduced levels of oxygen. It is relatively fragile and sensitive to environmental stresses (e.g. 21% oxygen, drying, heating, disinfectants and acidic conditions.) It causes more disease than Shigella spp and Salmonella spp combined. (Taken from the US FDA “Bad Bug Book”) It is also known as Campylobacter enteritis or gastroenteritis. It can also be diagnosed as Spirochete or Giardia diarrhea.

Diagnosis is by direct fecal testing on a VERY fresh (still warm, so bacteria are still alive) sample, mixed with saline and examined microscopically. There is usually a decrease in normal bacterial numbers and motility. Blood testing will result in the low positive for Parvo. Tests are not conclusive, so if a low Parvo test is shown, start treatment immediately!!!!

Its incubation period is reported to be anywhere from 2 to 10 days.

These can mimic Parvo. The diarrhea does not always have the foul odor. It usually progresses as follows. Begins with mucus-covered solid stools, loose stools, and progresses to diarrhea, profuse diarrhea, the quirts, and depressed appetite with or without vomiting. The diarrhea may be watery or sticky and can contain (but not always) blood. These symptoms can be minor to sever. Some animals hardly show any symptoms, while others can become fatally dehydrated. Also seen are temperature drops and shock followed by death and all within 12-24 hours. In very young puppies, you will hear them cry quite loudly and nothing will comfort them, then respiratory problems occur. Puppies need attention immediately as the fatality rate is high.

The bacteria can come from fecal matter, non-chlorinated water, such as streams, ponds or puddles, food poisoning from food or from a human who has food poison, even a light case. This disease can also be transmitted to these areas by our common fly, flitting from one host to another. The bacteria are also found in raw or under-cooked meat. For all intents and purposes for the Dog Show Crud, it is transmitted in public X-Pens and public elimination areas. Some also say through urine, saliva via contact, or through the air. This bacteria reproduces at a rapid rate.

AS SOON AS ANY OF THE SYMPTOMS ARE SEEN, SEE YOUR VET immediately for the proper tests because the disease progresses so rapidly. Re-hydration may be required within a few hours of the onset. This is the worst scenario. It could be that the dog will have a very mild case and be treated at home with anti-diarrheal medication and antibiotics, but it is not worth it to take the chance. Most cases are not as drastic/catastrophic, clinically as Parvo if the treatment is done in a timely manner-the younger the dog, the more serious the case. Drugs for treatment are Tetracycline, Erythromycin and some have had success using Cephalexin.
(In humans, you will also see fever, abdominal pain, nausea, headache and muscle pain. This illness usually occurs 2-5 days after ingestion of contaminated food or water and up to 10 days after. Illness generally lasts 7-10 days, but relapses are not uncommon. Most infections are self-limiting and are not treated with antibiotics. However, treatment with Erythromycin does reduce the length of time that infected individuals shed the bacteria in their feces.)
Many veterinarians have recommended that if you have a dog with diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, etc., that has been to a dog show, camping, groomer, park or any public place, or, if anyone in your family has been ill with diarrhea or food poison like symptoms, etc., that the dog be seen by your vet as soon as possible to diagnose the problem and treat it accordingly.”
Copyright 1999 MalteseDogs

Please take special notice of this information. It could save the lives of your special show/breeding/companion animals. The devastation caused by losing several animals in your kennel is extremely traumatic. There is no way to replace that special dog no matter how long one breeds.

One thing we’ve started doing when attending a dog show is to wipe our feet and the dogs paws with Clorox wipes before entering the RV every time. It is a real pain (we should own stock in Clorox), but if it helps prevent illness in my dogs, it’s worth every penny. No one knows where this bacteria is hiding. It can be anywhere. Be aware, be forewarned and be safe.
Fear In
The Kennel
S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008