You are required to visit your vet with your new puppy within 72 hours.

Your puppy has been fully vet checked and is free of any illnesses and parasites/worms prior to leaving our home.

 Please take the puppy's vaccination record with you when you go. There are several more vaccinations that the puppy will need to receive before it has complete immunity. NOTE: if your puppy is showing signs of a stress related illness such as loose bowels and a slight fever, it may need an antibiotic to help its system to get over this...DO NOT LET YOUR VET EVER GIVE A VACCINATION TO YOUR PUPPY UNDER THIS CONDITION! This would be like taking an infant with a sickness and getting its required vaccination on a weakened immunity. Each state has different requirements.Make sure your puppy has access to water and does eat food, if it does refuse the food you choose, try a canned wet dog food..the puppy needs to keep up his intake of nutrition. The vet is a good source for you to also discuss what diet/puppy food he/she would like the puppy to be eating, so be prepared to discuss bowel movements the puppy may have had. It is important that you understand your puppy is like a child, it has a young immune system and is not fully protected against all viruses and illnesses until it has received ALL of its vaccinations.We feed a high protein puppy food from our local MFA store that our veterinarian recommends and we send a small bag with each puppy. It is important to feed a high protein puppy food to your new puppy to insure the puppy receives adequate protein for the development of his skeleton etc..

Coccidia are parasites that are often misunderstood. After the first exposure, Coccidian parasites are always present in the animal's intestines, and they're just waiting to take advantage of any digestive upset. It is rarely the initial cause of the diarrhea, but once diarrhea starts, the Coccidia will grow to large numbers to keep the diarrhea going. Coccidia are spread through feces, and younger animals are more susceptible to the disease because of their underdeveloped immune systems. Coccidia are a major issue for babies under 8 weeks old and can even kill them. TRANSMISSION OF COCCIDIA Puppies are born with a sterile gut, and their mother seeds their gut with good bacteria during cleaning and care. However, puppies are often introduced to Coccidia through their mothers' infected feces. Coccidia can be spread from puppies to kittens and vice versa. The goal is to keep the puppy's exposure to a minimum number. There are a variety of products you can use for both treatment and prevention, but the goal is to keep the numbers so low in the kennel that you rarely need to treat. TREATMENT Marquis® is used to both prevent and treat Coccidia (Plumb). It works well and the once-a-week dose is easy to administer. Marquis (Ponazuril) will cause dry eye, so use caution in puppies under 6 weeks old - eye ulcers may develop in flat-nosed breeds. Marquis lasts 7 days, and when it's given before shipment, it's very effective in stopping Coccidia from overwhelming the puppy as he adjusts to his new home. It is also okay to use late pregnancy.

-Dr. B Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health



Giardia is a tiny, one-celled parasite that lives in the small intestine of affected animals. It is difficult to diagnose as not all infected animals show clinical signs. Symptoms are more visible in younger and older animals. The first clinical sign of Giardia is usually diarrhea with a strong odor or excessive mucus. Dehydration may also occur due to the diarrhea.


Giardia can be difficult to see under a microscope, and it often takes a trained eye to identify them accurately. Screening tests are also available. In these tests, the feces is mixed with a solution, placed in a well and then "snapped" down to start the test, which checks for a protein from the Giardia organism. Snap tests are useful as a piece of the puzzle; they are not a definitive test. Though negative tests are true negatives, false positives are very common and may be deceiving. If you have a positive snap test and you're not sure if it's correct, send feces to the lab for more accurate diagnosis. Since a snap test can read positive for four weeks after Giardia is removed from the gut, don’t be too quick to call the treatment a failure!


There are many ideas about treating and preventing Giardia. The top four are:

  1. Safeguard® or Panacur® (Fenbendazole) are 96% effective, safe and can be used in dogs or cats. Treatment is done for five days to rid the gut of the organism and often repeated in the house pet one week later to ensure removal.
  2. Metronidazole has traditionally been used to treat Giardia, but there has been resistance. It has been shown to be only 60% to 70% effective in dogs and has a sharp metallic taste which is nearly impossible to get down a cat more than one or two days. Treatment is daily for eight days to clear infection.
  3. Metronidazole and Safeguard® combined. This popular treatment is a third choice for dogs as it combines two approaches to clearing infection. It is 98% effective with Safeguard® having most of the effect in clearing the organism.
  4. Secnidazole given at 30 mg/kg single dose orally has proven to be effective in treating cats. It clears most cats of Giardia with one dose which is helpful since cats do not like to take meds orally. Secnidazole has also been used in dogs successfully. The drawback is it is a limited use drug and must be acquired with prescription from a compounding pharmacy.

Bathing is also important. Giardia oocysts are sticky and will stay on the hair coat, particularly the back legs. The oocysts are directly infective. This means the oocysts passed in the stool can immediately re-infect the animal when grooming themselves. Bathe the dog or cat with Chlor 4 Shampoo on last day of treatment. The chlorhexidine will kill the oocysts and the shampoo will mechanically remove. Concentrate on the back half of the body, as this is where the Giardia usually sticks. If you don’t bathe them, they can re-infect themselves, making your treatment ineffective.


 Some illnesses and symptoms you may want to get familiar with....Stress colitis is one of the leading causes of colitis in dogs and with a simple change in diet and medication to resolve the inflammation or infection in the colon most dogs are back to normal within three to five days. Puppies some times will show these signs when it goes to its new home from the stress of a new environment , travel and missing its siblings.  Chronic, severe or recurrent cases should have further diagnostic tests performed to determine the exact cause and proper treatment. For many dogs with chronic colitis, strict dietary control and judiciously used medications keep the condition under control.

What is colitis?

Colitis simply refers to inflammation of the large intestine or colon. Colitis is most commonly used to describe diarrhea or loose stools associated with the large bowel.What are the clinical signs of colitis?

Most dog owners report seeing frequent, small volumes of semi-formed to liquid feces. Many dogs will exhibit straining during and after defecation, and small amounts of bright red blood will often be passed near the end of defecation. Mucus or fat is seen in many cases of chronic colitis. Vomiting occurs in less than a third of the cases of colitis or large bowel diarrhea. Weight loss is rare.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM

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Clostridial Enterotoxicosis in Dogs 

Clostridial enterotoxicosis is an intestinal syndrome brought on by abnormally high levels of Clostridium perfringens bacterium, a bacteria found commonly inhabiting decaying vegetation and marine sediment. It can also be acquired from raw or improperly cooked meats and poultry, and meats that have been left out in the open. There is also evidence that dogs can acquire this infection from being with other dogs, such as when boarded at a kennel. 

Generally, the implications of the clostridial enterotoxicosis are limited to infections of the intestinal tract and do not progress to systemic disease conditions. Symptoms typically last a week in acute cases and include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea. Long-term (chronic) cases of clostridial enterotoxicosis, meanwhile, involve recurrences of diarrhea, which may repeat every two to four weeks, and may continue for months to years. In fact, clostridial enterotoxicosis in dogs is suspected to occur in up to 20 percent of large bowel diarrhea cases. 

Although it is more common in dogs as opposed to cats -- perhaps because dog spend more time amongst vegetation, or eating found meat (such as in refuse) -- most animals have antibodies that will effectively fight the bacteria and clear it from the body. 

Symptoms and Types

  • Diarrhea with shiny mucus on its surface
  • Small amounts of fresh blood in diarrhea
  • Small, meager stools
  • May have large volume of watery stools
  • Straining to defecate
  • Increased frequency of defecation
  • Vomiting (on occasion)
  • Abdominal discomfort – characterized by standing with lowered front and raised back end, or curling up to cover abdomen, resistant to being touched in abdominal area
  • Abnormal amount of flatulence (i.e, passing gas)
  • Fever (uncommon) 


Clostridial enterotoxicosis is caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria Clostridium perfringens in the intestine. Often, the bacteria is acquired from the environment (e.g., flora) or as the result of eating raw, undercooked, or old meat. Other risk factors include: 

  • Dietary changes
  • Abnormally high pH level in the intestine
  • Deficiency of antibodies
  • Stress to the digestive system due to concurrent disease (e.g., parvovirus,gastroenteritis, and inflammatory bowel disease)

Standard Poodle Grooming and The Portuguese Water Dog are very similar in genetics and characteristics.

The Standard Poodle Grooming and The Portuguese Water Dog (PWD)

  • Coat is curly, harsh and dense. where as the PWD may have a curly or wavy coat.
  • Brushing and combing every other day is necessary to prevent matting.
  • Most people have their dogs professionally clipped every six weeks.
  • Most people opt for a sporting clip where the hair is fairly short all over. The PWD have several styles, one that we like in the summer is the Lion cut.
  • Originally, poodle's coats were corded, so they hung in long dreadlocks. This takes a lot of work and is difficult to wash, so the style has fallen out of favor.
  • Shedding is below average.
  • The eyes should be checked regularly for hair or lashes that may irritate their surface.
  • Hair growing inside the ears may need to be plucked out or clipped.
  • While no dog is non-allergenic, poodles and Portuguese water dogs seem to cause allergic reactions in fewer people.
  • Porti-Doodles
  • Makes a biddable and fun-loving companion.
  • Playful and very good with children.
  • Friendly to strangers, other dogs and other pets.
  • Does best with reward-based training involving food, games or praise.
  • Eager to please, bright and responsive, poodles are among the easiest of dogs to train.
  • Excels at obedience and agility competitions, therapy dog work, and even contraband detection.

Porti-Doodle Suggested Exercises

Makes a calm yet alert housedog.

  • A long walk or jog, or several vigorous games, every day will meet its exercise needs.
  • Poodles have even been trained to pull a dog sled.
  • Enjoys retrieving.
  • Standard poodles do well in dog parks.
  • Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
  • Swimming is a favored exercise, but a full coat can weigh down a dog.
  • Its thick coat provides some protection against cold weather, but it cannot withstand prolonged exposure unless exer

What are the symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity?

The most common early symptom of grape or raisin toxicity is vomiting, usually within a couple of hours after ingestion. Next, the dog may develop diarrhea, excessive thirst, excessive urination or lethargy.

What other common foods are toxic to dogs?

Onions, chocolate, cocoa, macadamia nuts, avocados and foods containing the sweetener xylitol can also be fatal.

all states have their own vaccination requirements, your vet will know the laws for your state

Canine Vaccines and Vaccination Schedule

What are Core and Noncore Vaccines?

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) released a set of guidelines in 2003 (and revised in 2006 and 2011) regarding canine vaccines and vaccination.....
In the revised guidelines, the AAHA classified canine vaccines into core and noncore (optional).
According to AAHA, core vaccines are those that all dogs should receive in order to protect against diseases that are more serious or potentially fatal. These diseases are found in all areas of North America and are more easily transmitted than noncore diseases. The AAHA guidelines define the following as core vaccines:distemper,  adenovirus, parvovirus  and rabies (1-year vaccine or 3-year vaccine).


Heartworm Disease in Dogs

What do heartworms do to the dog?
It usually takes several years before dogs show clinical signs of infection. Consequently, the disease is diagnosed mainly in two to eight year old dogs. The disease is rare in dogs less than one year of age because the microfilariae take five to seven months to mature into adult heartworms after infection. Unfortunately, by the time clinical signs are seen, the disease is usually well advanced.

Heartworms cause disease by clogging the heart and major blood vessels leading from the heart. They also interfere with the valve action in the heart. By clogging the main blood vessel, the blood supply to other organs of the body is reduced, particularly blood flow to the lungs, liver and kidneys,causing these organs to malfunction.

The signs of heartworm disease depend on the number of adult worms present, the location of the worms, the length of time the worms have been in the dog and the degree of damage that has been sustained by the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

"Signs of heartworm disease are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath... and loss of stamina."

The most obvious clinical signs of heartworm disease are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness and loss of stamina. All of these signs are most noticeable following exercise, when some dogs may even faint or become disoriented. Your veterinarian may notice abnormal lung and heart sounds when listening to the chest with a stethoscope. In advanced cases, congestive heart failure may be apparent and the abdomen and legs will swell from fluid accumulation. There may also be evidence of weight loss, poor condition and anemia. Severely infected dogs may die suddenly during exercise or excitement.

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms do not wait to contact your local VCA Veterinarian as heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease. We offer a free first exam* for new clients.

What causes heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease or dirofilariasis is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by a blood-borne parasite known asDirofilaria immitis.

Adult heartworms are found in the heart and adjacent large blood vessels of infected dogs. Rarely, worms may be found in other parts of the circulatory system. The female worm is 6 - 14" long (15 - 36cm) and 1/8" wide (5mm). The male is about half the size of the female. One dog may have as many as 300 worms present when diagnosed.

"Adult heartworms may live up to five years..."

Adult heartworms may live up to five years and, during this time, the female produces millions of offspring called microfilaria. These microfilariae live mainly in the small vessels of the bloodstream.

What is the life cycle of the heartworm?

"...the parasite requires the mosquito as an intermediate host..."

The life cycle of the heartworm is complicated; the parasite requires the mosquito as an intermediate host before it can complete its life cycle in the dog. As many as 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworms.

The life cycle begins when a female mosquito bites an infected dog and ingests the microfilariae during a blood meal. The microfilariae develop further for 10 - 30 days in the mosquito's gut and then enter its mouthparts. At this stage, they are infective larvae and can complete their maturation when they enter a dog. The infective larvae enter the dog's body when the mosquito bites the dog. They migrate into the bloodstream and move to the heart and adjacent blood vessels, maturing to adults, mating and reproducing microfilariae within 6 - 7 months.

Where is heartworm disease found?

"Canine heartworm disease occurs all over the world."

Canine heartworm disease occurs all over the world. In the United States, it was once limited to the south and southeast regions. The highest numbers of reported cases are still within 150 miles of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean coastlines and along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. However, the disease is spreading and is now found in most regions of the United States, including California, Oregon and Washington. In Canada, the disease is problematic in areas where mosquitoes are prevalent, such as along waterways and coastlines in many provinces. The greatest number of cases in Canada occurs around the southern Great Lakes.

How is heartworm disease spread?

"...the disease is not spread directly from dog to dog."

Since transmission requires the mosquito as an intermediate host, the disease is not spread directly from dog to dog. Spread of the disease therefore coincides with mosquito season, which can last year-round in many parts of the United States. The number of dogs infected and the length of the mosquito season are directly correlated with the incidence of heartworm disease in any given area.

The mosquito usually bites the dog where the hair coat is thinnest. However, having long hair certainly does not prevent a dog from getting heartworms.

Microfilariae (immature heartworms): Microfilariae circulate throughout the body but remain primarily in the small blood vessels. Because they are about as wide as the small vessels, they may block blood flow in these vessels. The cells being supplied by these vessels are then deprived of the nutrients and oxygen normally supplied by the blood. Microfilariae primarily injure the lungs and liver. Destruction of lung tissue leads to coughing. Liver injury leads to cirrhosis of the liver, causing jaundice, anemia and generalized weakness. The kidneys may also be affected and allow toxins to accumulate in the body.

How is heartworm disease diagnosed?

In most cases, one or more simple blood tests will diagnose heartworm disease. Further diagnostic tests are essential to determine if the dog can safely undergo heartworm disease treatment. Some or all of the following diagnostic procedures are recommended before treatment is started:

Serological test for antigens to adult heartworms (antigen test, ELISA or SNAP test): This test is performed on a blood sample.

"The most widely used test detects antigens (proteins) produced by adult heartworms."

It is the most widely used test because it detects antigens (proteins) produced by adult heartworms. It can be positive even if the dog does not have any microfilariae in the bloodstream (approximately 20% of cases). Dogs with less than four or five adult heartworms may not have produced enough circulating antigen to produce a positive test result, so there may be an occasional false negative result in dogs with a low burden of parasites, or in the early stages of infection. Because the detected antigen is only produced by the female heartworm, a population of only male heartworms will also give a false negative. Therefore, there must be at least four to five female worms for a positive result by this test.

Blood test for microfilariae (microscopic or Knott's test)

"Blood sample examined under the microscope for the presence of microfilariae."

A blood sample is centrifuged and then examined under the microscope for the presence of microfilariae. If microfilariae are seen, the test is positive. The number of microfilariae seen gives a general indication of the severity of the infection. However, the microfilariae will be found in the bloodstream in greater numbers in the summer months and in the evening, so sampling time can affect this test. Approximately 20% of dogs do not test positive, even though they have heartworms, because their immune system has acquired the ability to destroy the microfilariae. Also, there is another blood parasite that is fairly common in dogs that can be hard to distinguish from heartworm microfilariae. For these reasons, the antigen test is preferred for diagnosis.

Other blood tests (CBC, blood chemistries, electrolytes): Abnormalities on the complete blood count (CBC) and blood tests for kidney and liver function may suggest the presence of heartworm disease. These tests will be performed on dogs diagnosed as heartworm-infected to determine the function of a dog's organs and health status prior to treatment.

Radiographs (X-rays): A radiograph of a dog with heartworms will usually show heart enlargement and swelling of the large artery (pulmonary artery) leading to the lungs from the heart. These signs are considered presumptive evidence of heartworm disease. Radiographs may also reveal the condition of the heart, lungs and pulmonary vessels. This information allows us to predict an increased possibility of complications related to treatment.

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): An electrocardiogram is a tracing of the electric currents generated by the heart. It is most useful to determine the presence of abnormal heart rhythms. This test can also detect enlargements in heart chamber size and help determine if a dog can safely undergo heartworm disease treatment.

Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart): An ultrasonic examination shows the heart chambers allowing the general status of the heart to be evaluated. The heartworms also be visualized.

How is heartworm disease treated?

There is some risk involved in treating dogs with heartworms, although fatalities are rare.

"In the past, the drug used to treat heartworms contained high levels of arsenic..."

In the past, the drug used to treat heartworms contained high levels of arsenic and toxic side effects frequently occurred. A new drug is available that does not have as many side effects, allowing successful treatment of more than 95% of dogs with heartworms.

When some dogs are diagnosed, they have advanced heartworm disease. This means that the heartworms have been present long enough to cause substantial damage to the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys and liver. A few of these cases will be so advanced that it will be safer to treat the organ damage rather than risk treatment to kill the heartworms. Dogs in this condition are not likely to live more than a few weeks or months. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best treatment approach for dogs diagnosed with advanced heartworm disease.

Treatment to kill adult heartworms:

"Injectable drug to kill adult heartworms is given."

An injectable drug to kill adult heartworms is given. It kills the adult heartworms in the heart and adjacent vessels. These injections may be divided and given thirty days apart. Your veterinarian will determine the specific injection schedule according to your dog's condition. Many dogs will also be treated with an antibiotic to combat potential infection with bacteria (Wolbachia) that inhabit the heartworm.

"Complete rest is essential after treatment."

Complete rest is essential after treatment.The adult worms die in a few days and start to decompose. As they break up, they are carried to the lungs, where they lodge in the small blood vessels and are eventually reabsorbed by the body. This resorption can take several weeks to months and most post-treatment complications are caused by these fragments of dead heartworms. This can be a dangerous period so it is absolutely essential that the dog be kept as quiet as possible and is not allowed to exercise for one month following treatment. The first week after the injections is critical because this is when the worms are dying. A cough is noticeable for seven to eight weeks after treatment in many heavily infected dogs. If the cough is severe, notify your veterinarian for treatment options.

Prompt treatment is essential if the dog has a significant reaction in the weeks following the initial treatment, although such reactions are rare. If a dog shows loss of appetite, shortness of breath, severe coughing, coughing up blood, fever or depression, you should notify your veterinarian. Treatment with anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, 
cage rest, supportive care and intravenous fluids is usually effective in these cases.

Treatment to kill microfilaria: Approximately one month following treatment to kill the adults, the dog must return to the hospital for administration of a drug to kill the baby heartworms or microfilariae. Your dog may need to stay in the hospital for the day. Following treatment, your dog will be started on a heartworm preventative.

"Newer heartworm treatment protocols use a variety of drugs to kill the microfilariae."

Newer heartworm treatment protocols use a variety of drugs to kill the microfilariae. Your veterinarian will select the correct drug and administration time based on your pet's condition.

Are any other treatments necessary?

Dogs with severe heartworm disease may require antibiotics, pain relief medications, special diets, diuretics to remove fluid accumulations in the lungs, and drugs to improve heart function prior to treatment for the heartworms. Even after the heartworms have been killed, these dogs may require lifetime treatment for heart failure. This includes the use of diuretics, heart medications such as ACE-inhibitors, beta-blockers or cardioglycosides, and special low-salt diets.

What is the response to treatment and prognosis?

Dog owners are usually pleasantly surprised at the improvement in their dog following treatment for heartworms, especially if the dog had been demonstrating any clinical signs of heartworm disease. Many dogs display renewed vigor and vitality, improved appetite and weight gain.

How can I prevent my dog from getting heartworms?

You can prevent your dog from getting heartworms by using a heartworm preventive. When a dog has been successfully treated for heartworms, it is essential to begin a heartworm prevention program to prevent future recurrence. With the safe and affordable heartworm preventives available today, no pet should ever have to endure this dreaded disease.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM

Parasitic Worms in Dogs

The four most common types of intestinal worms to infest dogs are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Common symptoms of worms in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and anemia. This page looks at these canine worms and how to provide health care to dogs with worms.

Worms in dogs - not exactly a pleasant topic at the dinner table... Unfortunately, they are a common experience for our dogs.It may be revolting to think about it, but the truth is, intestinal parasites such as worms are more common than we would like to think - they exist even in many healthy adult dogs, though many of such parasites pose relatively little or no harm to the dog hosts.There are however some species of dog worms that can wreak havoc on dogs - especially on puppies or dogs with compromised immune and digestive systems.A majority of puppies (and, for that matter, kittens) are infested with intestinal worms when born. They got these worms in vitro from their mothers. As the immune systems of very young pups are not mature and thus not strong enough to fend off dog worms and other parasites, they tend to be infested by worms easily.Other dogs who are more prone to worm infestations include those living in crowded and less desirable conditions, such as rescued dogs.If you suspect that your dog has worms, it is essential to take her to the veterinarian so that a fecal analysis can be done to find out what worm your dog has and how serious the infestation is.

Natural Remedies for Dogs with Roundworms

If your puppy is not serious infested with roundworms, you may want to first try the following natural remedies because they are safer and more gentle on the pup's body. Try the following remedies for at least 3 weeks. If the worms are still there, then consider the conventional deworming treatment. 

Garlic, preferably together with fennel, can be fed to your dog to encourage expulsion of intestinal parasites. Depending on the size of your pup, mix half to 2 cloves of fresh chopped or grated garlic to her food.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

DE is actually the fossilized remains of some prehistoric planktons. The fine particles in the earth cut through the exoskeletons of insects (such as worms, fleas, mites, etc.) resulting in dehydration and the insects will usually die in a few hours. DE is natural and is totally safe for internal use for pets. Make sure, however, that you use the natural unrefined type (available at herbal suppliers, natural food stores and sometimes pet stores) and add up to 1 teaspoon of diatomaceous earth to each meal.

Oat Bran

Add up to 2 teaspoons of oat bran to each meal. The idea is to let the roughage carry out the worms. Grated raw carrots or turnips can also be fed in the same manner.

Giardia in Dogs

What is Giardia?

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection of man and animals caused by a protozoan parasite Giardia intestinalis (also known asGiardia lamblia).  

" is not a "worm", bacteria or virus."

Giardia is a simple one-celled parasitic species; it is not a "worm", bacteria or virus.  The parasite occurs worldwide and is a common cause of "Traveler's Diarrhea" in people. Outdoor enthusiasts who inadvertently consume contaminated water may develop "beaver fever", which is another name for giardiasis in people. Other examples of protozoan parasites that can cause enteric (intestinal) disease are Coccidia, Cryptosporidia and Toxoplasma.

Giardiasis can be an important cause of illness, especially diarrhea, in animals and man. However, the majority of dogs infected with Giardia do not have diarrhea, vomiting or any other signs of illness.

The Giardia organism has two forms. A fragile, feeding form exists in the gut of infected animals, while a hardy cystic form is shed in feces and can survive several months in the environment, particularly in water and damp environments.

What are the clinical signs of Giardiasis?

These microscopic parasites attach themselves to the intestinal wall and the damage causes an acute (sudden-onset) foul-smelling diarrhea. The stool may range from soft to watery, often has a greenish tinge to it, and occasionally contains blood. Infected dogs tend to have excess mucus in the feces. Vomiting may occur in some cases. The signs may persist for several weeks and gradual weight loss may become apparent.

"The disease is not usually life threatening unless the dogs' immune system is immature or immunocompromised."

The diarrhea may be intermittent. Most dogs do not have a fever but may be less active. The disease is not usually life threatening unless the dogs' immune system is immature or immunocompromised.

If your pet is showing these symptoms do not wait for symptoms to get worse. It's better to contact your local VCA Veterinarian. We offer a free first exam* for new clients.

How do dogs get giardiasis?

A dog becomes infected with Giardia when it swallows the cyst stage of the parasite. In susceptible dogs, once the cyst passes into the dog's intestines; it goes through transformation to thetrophozoite or feeding form and attaches to the intestinal wall to feed. If sufficient numbers are present, clinical signs of damage to the intestinal wall will develop. Trophozoites reproduce by dividing, and some transform into the cystic form. Eventually, the dog passes cysts in its stool.

"Giardiasis can be transmitted by eating or sniffing the cysts from contaminated ground, or by drinking contaminated water."

These cysts are immediately able to infect another animal. Giardiasis can be transmitted by eating or sniffing the cysts from contaminated ground, or by drinking contaminated water.

When Giardia cysts are found in the stool of a healthy adult dog without diarrhea, they are generally considered a transient, insignificant finding. However, in puppies and debilitated adult dogs, they may cause severe, watery diarrhea that may be fatal if left untreated.

The likelihood of developing disease increases when large numbers of cysts are present in the environment from fecal contamination. Giardiasis is a common occurrence in environments that are densely populated, such as kennels, pet stores, or animal shelters.

How is giardiasis diagnosed?

"...require a special zinc sulfate flotation solution for detection."

A routine fecal flotation test may fail to detect these tiny cysts, which are shed inconsistently in the feces, and which often require a special zinc sulfate flotation solution for detection. Occasionally, the parasites may be seen on a direct smear of the feces. If your veterinarian suspects giardiasis, a sample of stool may be analyzed for the presence of Giardia specific antigens (cell proteins). Many cases are presumptively diagnosed on the basis of medical history and clinical signs suggestive of giardiasis.

How is giardiasis treated?

The most common drug used to kill Giardia is metronidazole, an antibiotic. It is normally given for five to seven days to treat giardiasis. Another antiparasitic drug, fenbendazole, is suggested as a potentially useful treatment, especially when used in conjunction with metronidazole. This combination is usually administered to cats with refractory diarrhea (diarrhea that hasn't responded to treatment). Supportive treatment with other drugs may be needed as supplemental therapy if dehydration or severe diarrhea is present. Some dogs may require follow-up tests and treatments based on their condition and severity of infection.

What is the prognosis for Giardiasis?

The prognosis is good in most cases. Debilitated or geriatric animals and those with incompetent immune systems are at increased risk for complications, including death.

If your dog is diagnosed with giardiasis, environmental disinfection and good personal hygiene are important to prevent accidental spread to humans. In particular, people with immunodeficiency, such as AIDS or cancer, or who are undergoing chemotherapy, should use extreme care, especially when handling feces or after administering medications.

For environmental disinfection, you can use chlorine bleach at 1:32 or 1:16 dilutions, or 1-2 cups in a gallon of water (60-120 mls/L). However, be sure that the affected surfaces can be safely treated with bleach. Lysol® and quaternary ammonium compounds (Parvosol®, etc.)  are also reported to be effective in killing the cysts. Giardia cysts are susceptible to drying so try to keep your environment as dry as possible. For best results, thoroughly clean the pet's living and sleeping areas and then allow the areas to dry out for several days before reintroducing pets.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM

What is Babesia infection?

Babesia infection or babesiosis refers to infection with a protozoal parasite from the species BabesiaMerozoites orpiroplasms are the stage of Babesia that invades mammalian red blood cells, causing anemia. Babesia species are found worldwide, although in North America, most canine cases of babesiosis occur in the southern United States. Pockets of the disease also exist in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

How does a dog contract babesiosis?
Babesiosis is spread through the bite of an infected tick (primarily from species ofIxodes, although other tick species may also be capable of transmitting the disease). There is also evidence that some direct animal-to-animal transmission may occur, such as when an infected dog with oral lesions or abrasions bites another dog. Recent studies show that Babesia may be transmitted transplacentally (to unborn puppies in the uterus). Dogs housed in kennel settings with poor tick control are at a higher risk for developing babesiosis.

What are the clinical signs of babesiosis?

Dogs infected with babesiosis may present with a wide variety of clinical signs, ranging in severity from a sudden collapse with systemic shock, to a hemolytic crisis, to an insidious and slowly progressing infection with no apparent clinical signs. Dogs typically present with the acute, severe form of babesiosis, which is characterized by findings such as abnormally dark urine, fever, weakness, pale mucous membranes, depression, lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes), and an enlarged spleen. Blood and urine tests may show anemia, thrombocytopenia (low platelets), hypoalbuminemia (low albumin, a blood protein), and bilirubinuria.

How is babesiosis diagnosed?

In the past, babesiosis was diagnosed by demonstrating the parasite on a blood smear. Other diagnostic tests are becoming more readily available, including FA (fluorescent antibody) staining of the organism and ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) tests (currently available only for B. canis). A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is also available.

Serologic or titer testing in the diagnosis of babesiosis has limitations. A positive test result is dependent on an antibody response by the infected dog, which may take up to ten days to develop. Once a dog has developed antibodies to babesiosis, they may persist for years and this must be considered when performing follow-up tests.

How is babesiosis treated?

The FDA approved treatment for babesiosis is imidocarb diproprionate. Other treatments include atovaquone (Mepron®) and azithromycin (Zithromax®). These newer treatments may help eliminate the sub-clinical carrier states. Your veterinarian will discuss any alternative and adjunctive treatments with you.

The prognosis for a dog diagnosed with babesiosis is guarded. Owners should be aware that dogs that have survived babesiosis often remain sub-clinically infected. These dogs may suffer a relapse of disease in the future or may serve as a source for the further spread of disease in a given area. Dogs that have recovered from babesiosis should never be used as donors for blood transfusions because the recipients may develop the disease.

Currently, an effective vaccine is not commercially available to protect dogs against babesiosis.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM

Hernia - Umbilical in Dogs

What is an umbilical hernia?

umbilical_hernia-1_2009An umbilical hernia is a protrusion (outward bulging) of the abdominal lining, abdominal fat or a portion of abdominal organ(s) through the area around the umbilicus (navel or belly button). The umbilicus in dogs and cats is located on their underside just below the ribcage.

What causes an umbilical hernia?

Before birth, the umbilical blood vessels pass through the umbilical ring (an opening in the abdominal muscles) to provide nourishment to the developing fetus. An umbilical hernia is caused by the incomplete closure of the umbilical ring after birth. The hernia generally appears as a soft swelling beneath the skin and it often protrudes when the puppy is standing, barking, crying, or straining. Some hernias arereducible, meaning that the protrusion can be pushed back into the abdomen while others are non-reducible indicating at least partial obstruction or adhesion of the herniated contents to the opening.

"Some hernias are reducible, meaning that the protrusion can be pushed back into the abdomen."

An umbilical hernia can vary in size from less than a quarter-inch (1-cm) to more than an inch (2.5-cm) in diameter. Small (less than ¼ inch or 1-cm) hernias may close spontaneously (without treatment) by age 3 to 4 months. Umbilical hernias that do not close may require surgery, especially if a portion of an intestinal organ protrudes through it. Umbilical hernias are usually painless. The exact incidence and cause is unknown. Certain family lines have a higher incidence of umbilical hernias suggesting at least a partial genetic predisposition to the condition.

Is an umbilical hernia dangerous?

Most umbilical hernias pose no health threats.

"In rare cases, a portion of the intestines or other tissues can be trapped and become strangulated."

In rare cases, a portion of the intestines or other tissues can be trapped and become strangulated (blood flow is cut off to the tissue, causing its death). This is an emergency requiring immediate surgery.

How is an umbilical hernia treated?

If the hernia has not closed by the time of spaying or neutering, surgical repair of the hernia is recommended. The surgery can be performed at the time of spaying and neutering. The fibrous or scar tissues that have formed around the hernia are dissected out or removed, and the defect is closed with sutures.
What is the prognosis for an umbilical hernia?

The prognosis is excellent following surgical correction. Few puppies experience recurrence of the hernia and few complications are reported with the procedure.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM