Species of Helicobacteraceae which are pathogenic to dogs include:
- Helicobacter pylori - gastritis
- Helicobacter heilmannii - stomach and colon
- Helicobacter felis - stomach and colon
- Helicobacter acinonychis
- Helicobacter bizzozeronii
- Helicobacter bilis/flexispira
- Helicobacter cinaedi
- Helicobacter canis
- Flexispira rappini
- Helicobacter marmotae - prairie dogs
- Wolinella spp - oral cavity
These bacteria inhabit the stomach and to a lesser degree, the intestine and liver. They break down urea into ammonia and bicarbonate and thus create a less acidic microenvironment in order to survive. The overall prevalence rates of Helicobacter are high in both dogs (80-100%) and humans (20-100%). Most Helicobacter infections are not associated with clinical signs. Nevertheless, these bacteria have the potential to cause disease.
Helicobacter are enterohepatic, able to colonize the large intestine and liver of healthy and symptomatic dogs.
The helicobacteraceae group normally reside intracellularly within parietal cells of the gastric fundus and small and large intestines and are predominantly associated with gastritis, ulcerative colitis and biliary/hepatic disease.
Infections are usually acquired at a young age in dogs, presumably from the bitch.
Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs of vomiting and/or diarrhea, augmented with isolation and specific culture or PCR assays for determining presence of Helicobacter spp in gastric swabs.
Although medical therapy is useful in resolution of clinical signs and clearance of visible Helicobacter spp, gastric inflammation commonly persist for some time afterwards, necessitating longer term proton-pump inhibitor therapy.
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