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Rebecca
Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 8716
Experience:  29 years of companion animal practice.
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MY DOG WAS BITTEN BY A RAT RECENTLY. SHE EXPERIENCED FEVER,

Customer Question

MY DOG WAS BITTEN BY A RAT RECENTLY. SHE EXPERIENCED FEVER, LOSS OF APPETITE AND LETHARGY THE NEXT DAY. THE FOLLOWING DAY SHE BEGAN HAVING BLOODY DIARRHEA AND VOMITING. I TOOK HER TO A LOCAL VET AND HE CLAIMED HER PROBLEM WAS HOOK WORMS. SHE DIED THE NEXT DAY. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT WAS THE MOST LIKELY ORGANISM THAT CAUSED HER DEATH?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Scott Nimmo replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the question,

Sorry to hear about Brandy ...

1. It is very unlikely that a healthy rat will spread disease through bites, their main threat is that they can carry leptospirosis but your dog would have got it by drinking water an infected rat had urinated in. I would tend to discount this possibility ...

2. If Brandy's vaccines were not up to date then consider the likes of parvo virus infection which is a common cause of death and does present with symptoms very like that. Also consider food poisoning bacteria such as salmonella. Also consider poisoning.

3. However hookworm can cause symptoms such as a dark and tarry diarrhoea and vomiting. Unfortunately death can sometimes occur if the dog is not treated and the disease progresses, so this is a possibility.

4. I have to say that at the end of the day all the above is just guesses, there is no way you would know for sure without a post mortem having been carried out but hookworm was one of a range of possibilities.

If I have not covered your question fully enough or you would like to ask more I will be online for the next hour or so and I will be at your disposal.

Vet Answers Vet.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT DOGS INFECTED WITH PARVO VIRUS
EXPERIENCED LETHARGY FOR SEVERAL DAYS BEFORE THE BLOODY DIARRHEA AND VOMITING STARTS. BRANDY HAD BEEN VACCINATED FOR PARVO TWICE. BRANDY WAS NOT SICK PREVIOUS TO BEING BITTEN. HOOK WORMS DID NOT KILL HER THAT QUICKLY.
Expert:  Scott Nimmo replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,

Glad to talk things over with you further ...

1. Parvo can be a very variable disease, for example I have known dogs to be perfectly fit as far as their owners were concerned in the morning and then death occurred in the afternoon after a short infection but violent infection. If her vaccines were up to date then you can forget Parvo.

2. However I have to agree with you that if Brandy seemed 100% fit and well to you then a sudden death from hookworm infestation would be very unusual indeed.

Regards,

Vet Answers Vet.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
did not give me a satisfactory answer, I want to know what organisms that can be transmitted to dogs from rat bites that cause symptoms similar to the ones noted in my dog
Expert:  Dr. Susan replied 2 years ago.

I agree with the other expert. There really are NO diseases that could be transmitted by a rat bite to cause those signs and ensuing death. Rabies or leptospirosis are the only two diseases your dog could get from a rat, and neither of these would cause death so rapidly. Neither would cause bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

 

The rat bite was coincidental with her death. I strongly recommend having a necropsy performed to diagnose the cause of her death, and get closure.

 

Please let me know if you have any further questions. If you are satisfied with my answer, please click on the green Accept button. Positive feedback is always appreciated. Thanks.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
what about the bacteria that causes rat bite fever? can it be transmitted to dogs?
Expert:  Dr. Susan replied 2 years ago.
The bacterium is Streptobacillus moniliformis. Dogs do not get rat bite fever.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Just to offer another opinion. Where do you live?
Here in the desert Southwest (New Mexico, Arizona, southern California, Colorado) we would be thinking of plague. Yes, the plague, the Black Death. Carried by rats in this part of the country. I actually see it often, in the summer. But if you live in anther part of the country, probably not. It does cause a high fever, can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and can be rapidly fatal.


Rebecca
Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 8716
Experience: 29 years of companion animal practice.
Rebecca and 4 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
North Carolina. I just find it hard to believe it is coincidental that my dog dies 4 days after being bitten by a rat. She was eating well, full of energy and experiencing none of the aforementioned symptoms. I can't accept she just up and died without any connection to the bite.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
It is hard to believe that the two were not connected, and if you were in my area, I would have tested for plague. I have never heard of a case of plague in the eastern US, however.

The only way to know would be to do blood tests, or cultures, and it is too late for that. I am so sorry you lost your dog so suddenly and sadly. Unless an autopsy was done, and blood samples collected soon after death, you will never know for sure.

Rebecca

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