News Bites

10% off all dental procedures from January 1 through March 31, 2023

News Bites for January 2023

10% off all dental procedures from January 1 through March 31, 2023

Giardia in Pets

Intestinal parasites are common findings in our furry friends. They are diagnosed by sending a fecal sample to the lab where tests are performed that confirm the presence of particular intestinal parasites. One of these parasites is called Giardia. Giardia is a single celled organism that is infectious to many types of animals, including humans.

Giardia has two forms. One is called a trophozoite. This is the form that lives within the host, uses a small flagella (tail) to swim through the intestine, and a suction cup that it uses to attach to the intestine of the host and feed. The second form is a cyst. This form lives outside the host in the environment once they are shed in the feces. The cyst is the contagious form and can live in the environment for a long period of time, as long as it stays cool and wet. Contaminated water is the classical source of a Giardia infection. 

After infection, it takes 5-12 days in dogs or 5-16 days in cats for Giardia to be found in the host’s stool. Diarrhea is the most common clinical sign, and it can precede the shedding of the Giardia. Infection is more common in kennel situations or breeding environments where animals are housed in groups. 

Giardial infections as a general rule, have become a bit difficult to treat due to resistance of the organism to medication. The most common treatment used by the professional staff at Riverton Veterinary Clinic is a combination of a medication called Metronidazole and Fenbendazole. Puppies and kittens that don’t have a mature immune system have a harder time getting rid of the organism than do adults, and often times need multiple treatments to be parasite free.

If your pet develops Giardia, we recommend cleaning up their stool as soon as they defecate, as the cyst can live in the stool. If you clean up the stool, the sun and heat can kill any cyst left in the environment. Cysts can stick to the fur of the infected patient, so wiping your pet’s anal area with a baby wipe is recommended each time they defecate, and completely bathing them after treatment is important to get rid of all of the cysts. There is a potential for the cysts to infect humans as well, so it is important to maintain good hygiene practices such as regular hand washing.

If you have any questions about Giardia in your pet, or if you would like your pets stool tested, please let us know and we can certainly help you out. 

Marijuana in Pets

While the use of cannabis is not new, the fact that it has been legalized for both medicinal and recreational use in several states has made it more accessible, which has led to an increase in accidental exposure in pets. 

The most common way that dogs and cats are exposed to cannabis is through ingestion of edibles or by ingesting it directly. They can also be exposed through secondhand smoke. Because dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains, the effect of even small amounts are more dramatic and potentially more toxic when compared to humans. 

Although exposure to recreational marijuana is fairly safe, medical grade products can have a dangerously high THC content that can potentially be fatal in animals. 

Many of the signs of intoxication in animals are neurological. Pets may become wobbly, uncoordinated, hyperactive or sleepy, disoriented and vocal. In severe cases, tremors, seizures, and coma can result. When mixed with brownies, the chocolate can be toxic as well. 

If you notice that your pet has ingested any marijuana, the first treatment, which is inducing vomiting, must be done very shortly after ingestion. So seeking emergency veterinary care is critical. The veterinary team might also use activated charcoal to help neutralize the toxin. If your pet is not taken to the vet until clinical signs are noticed, then they will provide supportive care until the effects of the drug wear off, but keep in mind that the effects of the drug can possibly be fatal.

When it comes to cannabis use and pets, the bottom line is be careful. Keep all medication, including cannabis out of reach of your pet. Keep pets away from secondhand smoke and remember if the cannabis is mixed with anything edible, your pet will be tempted to eat it.

If you notice suspicious behavior in your cat or dog and cannabis exposure is possible, please take you pet to your veterinarian for treatment.

Information obtained from VCA Animal Hospitals.

Happy New Year!!

From the staff at Riverton Veterinary Clinic, we wish you all a wonderful 2023 filled with good health and happiness.