Tag Archives: dehydration

Common Puppyhood Illnesses: Coccidia


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Just as non-furry children tend to get childhood illnesses like chicken pox, puppies can also be susceptible to similar puppyhood illnesses. One fairly common illness that you may encounter is coccidia, also known as coccidiosis. Coccidia are single-celled organisms that can infect a puppy or adult dog’s intestinal tract. It may sound scary, but it is generally mild and easily treatable. Like many puppy illnesses, the main symptom is diarrhea. It is important to bring your puppy in to the vet any time he displays signs of digestive distress to ensure prompt treatment of any illnesses. This will also help prevent the problem from spreading to other pets that your pup may come in contact with. We’ve spoken to our veterinary consultant, Dr. Brandon Sinn, to bring you everything you need to know about identifying and treating coccidia in your puppy.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of coccidiosis are mild to severe diarrhea and loss of appetite, but may also include vomiting in severe cases. Diarrhea can be a sign of other infections such as Giardia as well, so your vet will need to perform a stool sample test to confirm the diagnosis. Symptoms generally appear approximately 13 days from initial infection. Most dogs and puppies will recover quickly from coccidiosis, but it is important to get prompt treatment to prevent dehydration and other complications.

How does Coccidia spread?
Like Giardia, coccidia infection is spread through feces. You may have noticed that your puppy is very interested in the droppings of dogs and other animals. While this is perfectly normal behavior, it is best to keep them away from animal droppings to prevent diseases like coccidia that spread through the ingestion of infected fecal material. Similarly, if your own puppy has been diagnosed with coccidia, it is important to clean up after him promptly to help protect other dogs who may come to investigate.

Puppies and adult dogs with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk for coccidiosis. A healthy adult dog with a strong immune system may show no signs of infection and suffer no ill effects themselves, but can still spread coccidia to other animals.

Treatment and Prevention
Drugs such as Albon (sulfadimethoxine), Tribrissen (trimethoprimsulfadiazine) and Marquis have been effective in treating dogs infected with coccidia. These drugs work by preventing the coccidia organisms from reproducing, which gives the puppy time to build up an immunity. While these drugs do not completely eradicate a coccidia infection, they do resolve the puppy’s symptoms. They can also be given to prevent future flare-ups in an adult dog with a history of coccidiosis.

There are many preventative measures you can take to keep your puppy healthy and free from coccidia and other puppyhood illnesses. Always pick up after your dog after he goes to the bathroom and be sure to provide him with clean drinking water. It is best to discourage him from hunting small animals, as they may carry coccidia and can transfer the infection to your dog if they are eaten. If your puppy shows any symptoms of coccidia or another illness, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian!

With proper treatment and preventative measures, coccidia infection can pass quickly and uneventfully and will not impact your puppy’s quality of life.

Dangers During the Dog Days Of Summer


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Summertime and the living’s easy…unless you’re a pup! While hot weather can mean refreshing swims and beach walks for Fido, the season can also bring dangerous temperatures that can cause serious health issues such as overheating and sunburns. We’ve outlined some common summer hazards to be aware of during these hot months to keep your pooch safe and risk-free.

Open Water
While some dogs are natural-born swimmers, others are not. To avoid the risk of injury or drowning, keep your water-averse dog away from pools and lakes where he could fall in, as well as the ocean (a high tide or rough waters can easily sweep a small dog under the current). If you’re bringing your dog on a boat, make sure you have a life preserver ready for him, just as you would with a small child.

Fireworks
While nothing says 4th of July quite like fireworks, your dog may feel otherwise. Dogs are often sensitive to loud noises and could run off in fear or act out in aggression upon hearing the pops, cracks and booms that come with the popular Independence Day tradition.

Heat
Just as humans can suffer heatstroke, dogs can be just as, if not more vulnerable to overheating and dehydration. To avoid overheating, limit walks and outdoor play to cooler times of the day (sunrise or sunset), provide adequate shade or a cool place to rest indoors, offer plenty of fresh water and never ever leave your dog alone in a hot car. Lastly, be aware of your dog’s temperament – while panting and drooling alone can be normal behaviors, if these symptoms are paired with pale gums, hyperventilation, rapid pulse, confusion, diarrhea, vomiting, or rectal bleeding, contact your vet immediately.

Fleas, Ticks and Bees
summer-hazards-thumbnailThe warm summer months unfortunately bring out annoying insects such as fleas and ticks, which love to attach on and bite your four-legged friend. Make sure to protect your pup (and your family and home) by applying medicated flea/tick ointment to Fido on a regular basis. If your pup does come down with either of these critters, it’s imperative to do a deep clean and take necessary measures to prevent the transmission of disease and other parasites. If your dog gets stung by a bee, you’ll want to remove the stinger immediately (if you can find it) and then make an emergency trip to the vet for monitoring and/or treatment of an allergic reaction.

Allergies
Warm weather can also bring new pollen grains and other allergens into your dog’s environment. Seasonal allergies often cause intense itchiness in dogs, which can lead to hot spots, infections, wounds and hair loss from scratching too much. Talk to your vet about the best treatment options for your dog – depending on breed and severity of the symptoms, management could include oral steroid medication, specialty shampoos or ointments, or even immunotherapy (allergy shots).

Toxic Chemicals
Certain products used more frequently during the summer months such as insect repellent, fertilizer, weed control, pool chemicals, or ant bait can contain dangerous chemicals that can pose a poison threat to your dog. Check the ingredients in all products before use, or ask your gardener or pool servicer for more information. If your dog accidentally ingests poison, call the Animal Poison Control Center hotline, available 24 hours, 7 days a week: (888) 426-4435.