Puppies send 9 people to hospitals with Campylobacter infection

September 19, 2017

Say it ain’t so, doc.

Puppies don’t come across as very dangerous, but nine people have been hospitalized and 30 others made sick in the past year thanks to the little pooches, according a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.

Puppies across seven states (Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin) sold from one pet store chain are being blamed for spreading Campylobacter. Victims are a mix of those who purchased or visited puppies and employees of the pet store chain, which is not being blamed by the CDC for the outbreak.

Campylobacter infection can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain in both people and pups. Most people recover on their own within a few days with some rest and hydration. Elderly cases, the very young, and those with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk.

That doesn’t sound fun. What can I do to avoid getting sick?

Campylobacter isn’t often spread between humans. The nasty reality is that between dogs and people, infection is usually spread through dog poop.

This means you should be careful around puppies, especially when cleaning up after them. Use a plastic bag or other tool to ensure your hands stay away from their doggy droppings, and keep your pet clean with regular baths. If you’re playing with an unknown puppy, wash your hands afterwards, just to be safe. You never know what the little guy has been rolling in.

What about cats?

Cats are less likely than dogs to carry Campylobacter. If a cat does carry the bacteria, it’s likely a kitten. In contrast, up to 49% of dogs are carriers, according to Pet MD. Stray cats are more likely to carry the bacteria, and transfer it in the same way dogs do.

The same safety practices should be practiced around cats, regardless!