Campylobacteriosis in animals


Campylobacteriosis is a disease caused by the campylobacter spp. bacterium and common across the world. This bacterium is carried by several mammals and birds. It is generally associated with digestive issues and sometimes with reproductive issues.

Campylobacteriosis is a zoonotic disease, which means that animals can transmit it to humans. The bacterium often causes food poisoning (in French only). Visit the Campylobacteriosis in humans page to learn more.

At-risk animals

Domestic poultry are frequently infected. Campylobacteriosis is also regularly found in cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, dogs and cats. It is also sometimes identified in reptiles.

Signs of the disease in animals

Infected animals do not generally show any symptoms, but they can still excrete the bacteria into their environment. The disease can cause fairly serious diarrhea, especially in young animals. 

Campylobacteriosis is a major cause of abortion in ewes and goats. In poultry, the disease leads to liver problems and much lower egg production.


Infected animals that do not show symptoms can still be contagious.

An infected animal can bring bacteria into a farm. The bacteria are generally found in the animal’s intestines and feces. Ewes and goats can excrete the bacteria along with the products of birth and abortion.

Campylobacter may be brought into poultry farms by flies. Bodies of water such as lakes and streams are likely to be contaminated, as is untreated water. Campylobacter needs humidity and survives in water.

Campylobacter is also transmitted through contaminated tools, food or hands.


More often than not, animals recover spontaneously. Supporting treatment focusing on rehydration or antibiotics may be sometimes needed.

Protection and prevention

Several measures can help prevent campylobacteriosis in animals.

Wash your hands with water and soap after using the washroom. Also wash your hands after having contact with a potentially contaminated person, animal or item, such as a baby diaper, animal feces, bedding, food or kitchen utensils.

Do not let domestic animals drink water from the toilet. Provide them with plenty of drinking water.

Avoid feeding raw meat to domestic animals and regularly pick up their droppings.

On a farm, adopt the appropriate management and biosecurity measures This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only), paying special attention to hygiene in buildings and environments where animals are present. Apply stringent sanitary practices.

The bacterium that causes campylobacteriosis is susceptible to many disinfectants. You can use 70% isopropyl alcohol, a ready-to-use product available in pharmacies. You can also prepare a solution with 10 millilitres of bleach diluted in 1 litre of water. 

Isolate any animal that shows signs of the disease, and contact a veterinarian.

Last update: July 7, 2023


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