Is infection the same as diseases?

Dog owners would do everything to ensure the wellbeing of the pet. Dog owners provide the pet with all the comforts imaginable but good health is the greatest gift a pet parent can give to the dog. Premium quality food and regular vet checkups are provided. A busy dog owner would set aside time to groom and to exercise the pet as these are important factors in the maintenance of its health. A responsible dog owner would take the time to know the common diseases that can affect the pet in order to keep these health concerns at bay. Infections and diseases have to be prevented so as to give the dog a long, happy and healthy life.

Infections and diseases though cannot be totally prevented. An owner has to understand the causes of infections and diseases that can have a negative impact on the wellbeing of the pet. Infectious diseases have to be resolved immediately not only because of the adverse effects it would have on the pet but also because some of the dog’s infectious diseases can be transmitted to the human family. A dog owner though may wonder if infections and diseases are one and the same. Contrary to the general belief infections and diseases are different but the two are somehow interrelated.

Bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and infectious germs abound in the environment. These are the foreign cells that can invade and harm a host organism. Infection will occur when a foreign or a transient cell that was introduced multiplies inside the dog’s body. The microorganisms will get established in the host’s body until the host is “colonized”. A dog is protected from this “colonization” by the immune system. The invading microorganisms will have little or no effect if the host has a strong immune system. A puppy’s immune system obtained from the mother dog wanes a few weeks after it was born. This is why pet owners would ensure that the puppy is inoculated against common canine diseases. A dog that has a weak immune system would succumb to the foreign cells and infection will occur. For instance, a dog that picked up parasites from eating infected feces of other dogs or picked up bacterial agents by ingesting spoiled food will be infected.

When the foreign microorganisms invade the dog’s body and reproduce, the invaders will directly damage the cells of the host. A disease will not occur if the dog has a strong immune system. Fever is one of the first signs of infection. The high temperature is the immune system’s way of killing and ridding the body of the invaders. In some cases, infections will not cause a disease as the immune system was able to kill the disease-causing microbes quickly. An infection would eventually turn into a disease when the weakened defense mechanism of the dog allows the invading organism to disrupt the normal functioning of the body. A disease results from the damage to the cells created by the infection. For instance, the internal parasitic infection would then lead to anemia and internal bleeding. If infection is not resolved, the condition can end up with the death of the dog. A disease is actually the body’s defense mechanism against disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Fever is also a sign that the dog has a disease. The high temperature is the body’s way of killing the bacteria that impairs the normal functioning of an organ. The symptoms of a disease are actually warning signs to the dog owner that treatment is necessary to remove the microorganisms that are disrupting the normal functioning of the dog’s body.

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