An infection occurs when there is invasion and multiplication of micro-organisms, typically bacteria or yeast in animals. All organs are potentially susceptible to infection.
Erin Dowler (veterinarian) – May 2014
An infection can either result from introduction of new bacteria (e.g. a bite abscess) or from an invasion and multiplication of micro-organisms which are normally present (e.g. an ear/skin infection). Micro-organisms that are normally present usually only invade if there is an underlying inflammation or trauma which gives them an opportunity.
The clinical signs of infection depend on the organ affected. Examples include:
- Eyes: thick discharge, redness, watering
- Skin: weeping, pustules, smell, excess licking, abscess (thick yellow discharge, hair loss, pain, swelling, redness)
- Ears: discharge, head shaking, rubbing at ears
- Respiratory: nasal discharge, cough, sneezing, difficulty breathing
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Treatment typically involves antibiotics and/or anti-fungals. If there is an underlying trauma or inflammation that is allowing micro-organisms to invade, this will also need to be addressed.