Dog Show CRUD

Dog Show CRUD

(Bacterial Overgrowth)

"The Crud" is a bacterial overgrowth in the digestive tract. It will sometimes test low positive for Parvovirus. It is NOT a new form of Parvo although symptoms are quite similar to parvo. Crud dogs do not have a high temperature, nor will they have intestinal lesions. If a normal fecal is run on feces which are not quite to the watery & bloody stage, it will show a very high bacterial content and will be negative for parvo (usually).

Any one of the normal bacteria found in the digestive tract will go into overgrowth. The mystery is what triggers it. Possibly infected urine/feces or something brought in on shoes or clothing or from a visiting dog. We know what cures it and what to do when a dog hasn't been treated quick enough, and of course we know the end results with a dog that dies of it.

Symptoms start 12-48 hours after initial contact (usually) & may spread to other dogs rapidly.

Dogs are alert, hungry, energetic. Normal feces starts with mucus sheath, and continues to get progressively softer until it becomes explosive diarrhea. Vomiting may or may not accompany. Feces have a sweet/flowery aroma along with a"slaughterhouse-on-a-summer-day" smell. Feces are usually mustard colored, then become bloody. Dogs dehydrate at an astounding rate. Dogs are also at risk of intussusception.

The younger or weaker the dog, the worse it is. Some dogs may never get it, even though they may be kenneled with an afflicted dog. Some dogs also get over this without treatment.

The key is to treat this as fast as possible before the dogs go anorexic AND to treat ALL dogs on the premises (non-afflicted dogs should get ONE capsule). Treatment is 250mg Cephalexin per 25lbs of body weight. Puppies may get Ceph-drops. This MUST be given orally NOT I/V - it MUST go thru the digestive tract. If the dog vomits the pill up, just give it again until it stays down. Give another dose approx 8-12 hours later. If the dog returns to normal DO NOT medicate again.

DO NOT use an IV drip on a Crud dog. Their circulatory systems will be very depressed; if a vein can be found, it may not be able to support an IV. Use Lactated Ringers Solution SUB-Q & force electrolytes orally (Pedialyte).

I have to stress not to continue the drug after the dogs stop the diarrhea. The important thing is to treat them ONLY until the symptoms stop. Also, sometimes affected Crud dogs are not able to handle IV support because of circulatory collapse from massive dehydration. What a quandry since IV is the fastest way to rehydrate. So giving fluids under the skin is best & ONLY give until the drug starts to work. Afterwards IV is fine. Since the drug works so quickly, this is not too much of an issue. The whole point is to keep them "going" until the drug has time to work - usually a few short hours.

IV rehydration HAS thrown Crud affected dogs into deep shock & have also found some dogs having a complete shutdown of renal system, leakage of renal & intestinal fluids into various organs, circulatory & intestinal ruptures, etc. Not sure this was directly related to being IV'd, but in every instance this has occured directly after IV support was started. Not the case when there was no IV support.

Also, DO NOT flea-dip/worm/vaccinate at this time, PLEASE!

Do NOT automatically assume Parvo when you see this. This is NOT Parvo, it is a BACTERIAL overgrowth in the digestive tract. Do NOT use Amoxycillin. Dogs should show improvement within hours of treatment using the correct drug.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me privately at with the subject CRUD. You may re-print this in it's entirety as long as the following disclaimer is included. No flaming please.

(Disclaimer: This information has been compiled from reports received by treating veterinarians and owners. The information written is what has worked previously. This information should be taken to any veterinarian who is treating dogs with this problem. No one that does not have veterinary training should diagnose & medicate their own dogs).

Please note, this is NOT a Campylobacter infection. To read more about campylobacter, please visit the CDC.



What is the Crud?

It is a bacterial overgrowth in the digestive tract. Any of the normal bacteria found there can go into overgrowth under certain conditions.

What is the difference between Crud and Parvo?

The simple difference is that Crud dogs do not have fevers and are generally active, alert and have good appetites. They remain this way until they are massively dehydrated. Dogs with Parvo develop fevers, are lethargic, and do not want to eat. There are other differences, but these are the most obvious ones.

Is there a vaccination for the Crud?


Will my dog be immune from the Crud after he has had it once?


How long will my Crud dog be contagious?

Only for the duration of the diarrhea.

Will there be any lasting effects after my dog gets better?

If the dog was treated quickly and cured quickly, there should be no lasting effects. But if the dog had the Crud for a while before being cured there may be some lasting effects. Some dogs have developed marks on their retinas with a few developing small portions of dysplasia or detachment at the site of the retinal “mark”. Some dogs have minor sight impairment while others do not seem to have vision impairment. The degree of impairment varies. There have been no dogs reported to have become totally blinded.

Why can’t I use an IV on my Crud dog?

IV support is often the best way to rehydrate a dehydrated dog under most circumstances. Some Crud dogs have experienced renal failure, organ and capillary leakage directly after IV support was started. While others have not.

My dog has already had an IV to rehydrate him. Will he still get better on the Crud treatment?

He may recover from the Crud, but he may or may not have damage from the IV support.

Can I use any other antibiotic on my dog while treating it for Crud?

No, absolutely not. Wait until the previous antibiotic is out of the dog’s system before starting the Cephalexin. Do not mix antibiotics with a Crud dog.

My dog has already had a bunch of other antibiotics and has already had an IV, but he is not getting better. He has just gotten the Crud treatment and the diarrhea has stopped but he is still sick. What did I do wrong?

He may have some problem from the IV support.

My dog is on thyroid medication. Do I have to stop using it while treating my dog for Crud?


My bitch is pregnant. Will the Crud Treatment hurt her unborn pups?

We have only one reported pregnant bitch having been treated for the Crud. Her pups were born alive and are now young healthy adults.

My vet is unwilling to treat my dog for the Crud. He has never heard of it before. What do I do or say to change his attitude?

Give him the Crud treatment article. Have him research bacterial overgrowths and remind him that cephalexin is a good general antibiotic.

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