Bacterial infections, fungal infections and infections caused by other microorganisms are all possible causes of sepsis in animals. Gram-negative bacilli such as E. coli, P. aeruginosa, E. corrodens, and Haemophilus influenzae are the most common cause of sepsis. Candida species of fungi also cause sepsis frequently.
Sepsis is a severe disease caused by the presence of microorganisms or their toxins in the blood. There are many possible symptoms of sepsis because the infection can affect different organs. Usually, the gastrointestinal tract is affected first, so one of the first symptoms is usually diarrhea or vomiting. Some of the other symptoms include breathing difficulties, rapid heart rate, elevated fever and general weakness. Blood tests, urine analyses and X-rays can diagnose sepsis.
Treatment of sepsis includes hospitalization, as it is a severe condition that can cause death of the animal. Sepsis is usually treated with IV fluids, antimicrobials and specialized antibiotics. It is common to use an intravenous feeding tube because the animal may be weak and lack appetite.
Animals with a suppressed immune system, kidney diseases or diabetes mellitus are more likely to develop sepsis than healthy animals are. Generally, if an infection remains untreated for two to three weeks, sepsis develops.