Archive for February, 2010

Parasitic Dog Drinks


Now that we’re getting out and about more regularly with our best friends and the weather is warm enough for them to need a drink, make sure that the water source they are drinking from is not infected with Giardia.

Giardia is a diarrheal illness that can infect both humans and animals, caused by a microscopic parasite, Giardia intestinalis and once a person or animal has been infected with Giardia, the parasite lives in the intestine to be passed on to others in feces. Because the parasite is protected by an outer shell, it can survive outside the body and in the environment for months at a time.

During the past 2 decades, Giardia infection has become recognized as a common cause of waterborne disease in humans and animals that can be found worldwide.

The Giardia parasite is contracted by dogs that drink contaminated water, such as in puddles, lakes, or even on wet kennel floors. Symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss, and hair loss, with puppies being at highest risk.

Make sure that you keep your dog away from water sources and wildlife fecal matter that may be contaminated, and make sure to wash your hands after playing with puppies. If you suspect that your dog has been infected, it’s time for a visit to your local veterinarian.

The best way to prevent your dog from contracting the Giardia parasite is to always monitor where your dog puts its nose, and carry your own safe water source with you when you’re out on walks with your dog, rather than letting a thirsty pup slurp from questionable water sources.

© – 2010 – All rights reserved.

How Can I Help My Dog With Reverse Sneezing?


Ask a Vet Question: What should I do when my Shih Tzu or short-nosed dog starts that frightening wheezing noise? Why does it happen? Should people get worried when this happens and is there a definitive method for helping the dog when this occurs?

Thanks to Dr. Geoff Gaunt of Elk Lake Veterinary Hospital for providing us with the following expert answer to this small animal question that has many dog owners wondering what to do.

“This experience can be very frightening when first encountered and can cause a  lot of anxiety for the dog and the owner, however, this is almost never life-threatening.  When it happens, it may be useful to gently massage the throat and neck and offer the dog a small amount of water to drink to stimulate swallowing.  This may help shorten or even end an episode.  You should have your dog examined by your veterinarian to evaluate the causes and possible therapy for this syndrome.

Your veterinarian will likely want to determine if the event was sneezing, reverse sneezing or gagging.  All of these actions are normal protective reflexes to remove irritants from the sensitive tissues in the throat.  These sensitive tissues can include the various airway structures as well as the mouth and esophagus.  Regardless of whether it is sneezing, reverse sneezing or gagging, the usual causes include anything that can cause irritation in the throat.  Common causes include dental disease, excessive dryness and dust, any foreign material (like grass seeds), allergies and parasites.  There are several other less common causes that your veterinarian may identify.

For most dogs it is helpful to remember that these actions can be normal protective reflexes.  If the symptoms are more severe than this, or do not lessen with gentle massage, then a visit to your veterinarian is crucial.  Incidentally, this syndrome can be seen in any breed of dog and in cats, too.  Any age of dog can be involved, although the causes may be very different in older compared to younger animals.” – Dr. Geoff Gaunt, Elk Lake Vet Hospital

Although this reverse sneezing seems to occur more often in short-nosed breeds, such as Shih Tzu’s, as Dr. Gaunt advises, if your dog is experiencing these sorts of episodes on a regular basis, make sure you take your best friend to visit a quality, full service, trusted hospital or clinic that specializes in the care of our precious, small companion animals, such as Elk Lake Veterinary Hospital.

© – 2010 – All rights reserved.