Infections occur when one or more microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses enter the animal's body. Some bacteria or viruses can harm the animal, for example, by creating toxins or destroying tissue. If the damage is extensive enough to be expressed as a symptom of illness, we speak of an infectious disease.

 

Respiratory diseases

Respiratory diseases, such as influenza or pneumonitis, are often caused by infections. Often viruses are the source. Bacteria almost always play an important part, however, because the mucous membranes that have been damaged by the viruses are subsequently very susceptible to bacterial infections. These so called secondary infections are combatted with antibiotics. Always see a veterinarian in the case of respiratory illness. The symptoms are often indicative of additional health problems such as allergies or heart disease.

 

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is often caused by viruses, but bacteria, metabolic toxins from bacteria and spoiled food can also cause harm. Food allergies in animals are on the increase. For this reason, putting the animal on a special diet is usually the first step in treating diarrhea. But be sure to consult your veterinarian. Diarrhea can often be indicative of a very serious illness.

 

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections can often be traced to bacteria. Similar to infections in humans, infections in animals usually develop via the urethra. Treatment with antibiotics is very promising against this infection. Your veterinarian will prescribe the right antibiotic for your animal as soon as other causes of the infection, such as urolithiasis, have been ruled out.

 

Skin infections

Skin infections are quite rare because the healthy skin itself is a major protective organ against infections. However, bacterial infection is possible if the skin has previously been harmed in some other way such as through injury, parasites, or allergy. Here again, in addition to treating the bacterial infection with antibiotics, the cause of the skin problem must also be identified and treated. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

 

The immune system

To protect itself from infections, the body has an immune system. This immune system is mainly made up of immune cells and defense proteins. This system can recognize the foreign structures of bacteria and viruses, mark them and destroy the invaders. If the immune system is weak or the number of illness-causing bacteria too large, the bacteria or viruses can readily and explosively reproduce, leading to illness.

 

Therapeutic measures

In addition to general measures such as rest, keeping warm, etc., there is also a targeted way to combat the pathogens. To date, however, there are only very few drugs that attack viruses. If we assume that the infection is bacterial in nature, antibiotics can be administered. Antibiotics are drugs that disrupt the metabolism of the bacteria and in so doing stop their growth or even kill them. The immune system gains the upper hand once again and the infection is usually cured.

 

Vaccination

Animals can be vaccinated against a number of dangerous infectious diseases. This is how vaccination works: inactivated or modified (to avoid causing actual disease) bacteria or viruses are administered to the animal by injection (with a sterile syringe and needle). The immune system then becomes activated and produces specific antibodies. These antibodies initiate a cascade which destroys the pathogens, such that in a later case of "true" infection, certain immune system cells called memory cells "remember" the infection. Now the immune system can react much more quickly and can successfully conquer the invaders - often even before the first symptoms appear.

Two or more doses are usually needed to initiate an adequate immune response. Over time, however, the amount of antibodies produced by the activated immune system (the antibody titer) gradually declines. Therefore, a booster shot is needed at regular intervals. Protection against some diseases such as tetanus and rabies can be accomplished by boosting once a year. Others require more frequent intervals to provide adequate protection

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