• Campylobacter spp.;
  • Clostridium spp.;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Escherichia coli;
  • Salmonella;
  • Zoonosis

This report offers a consensus opinion on the diagnosis, epidemiology, treatment, and control of the primary enteropathogenic bacteria in dogs and cats, with an emphasis on Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., and Escherichia coli associated with granulomatous colitis in Boxers. Veterinarians are challenged when attempting to diagnose animals with suspected bacterial-associated diarrhea because well-scrutinized practice guidelines that provide objective recommendations for implementing fecal testing are lacking. This problem is compounded by similar isolation rates for putative bacterial enteropathogens in animals with and without diarrhea, and by the lack of consensus among veterinary diagnostic laboratories as to which diagnostic assays should be utilized. Most bacterial enteropathogens are associated with self-limiting diarrhea, and injudicious administration of antimicrobials could be more harmful than beneficial. Salmonella and Campylobacter are well-documented zoonoses, but antimicrobial administration is not routinely advocated in uncomplicated cases and supportive therapy is recommended. Basic practices of isolation, use of appropriate protective equipment, and proper cleaning and disinfection are the mainstays of control. Handwashing with soap and water is preferred over use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers because spores of C. difficile and C. perfringens are alcohol-resistant, but susceptible to bleach (1 : 10 to 1 : 20 dilution of regular household bleach) and accelerated hydrogen peroxide. The implementation of practice guidelines in combination with the integration of validated molecular-based testing and conventional testing is pivotal if we are to optimize the identification and management of enteropathogenic bacteria in dogs and cats.