Illness Caused by Parasites

While parasites are a part of a puppy and a dog’s life, there are lots of techniques and good management tools that owners can use to decrease the risk of infections. Unfortunately many dog owners don’t understand the basics of hygiene around the yard and house. Since most of the parasites can be transmitted from infected dog to other dogs via contact with fecal material, keeping the yard and kennel areas picked up and disinfected is really critical. Even if you only have one dog, he or she can keep re-infecting his or herself just by playing, eating and sleeping in areas of contaminated soil.  Ensure that food and water dishes are protected from contamination by fecal material, plus keep any insects, mice or rodents away from kennel areas.

Coccidia and Giardia, although often not well known by dog owners, are potentially fatal conditions that can occur within virtually any puppy or dog, regardless of their current health, age or condition. Both disease conditions are most problematic for puppies and dogs that have any types of health issues affecting their immune systems, which often allow the parasites to multiply out of control within the dog’s body.

The primary sign of an animal suffering with coccidiosis is diarrhea.
Although the very young puppies, typically those under six months and over two weeks of age, are at the greatest risk for developing Coccidia infestations, any dog that is under stress can also develop symptoms that will require treatment. This includes dogs that have been moved or rehomed.

The majority of giardia infections are asymptomatic, meaning there are no obvious signs your pet is infected.
When symptoms are present, the most common is diarrhea, which can be acute, chronic or fluctuant.
It is a condition that is almost exclusively seen in very young puppies, often those that already have immune system deficiencies or are in poor health conditions due to other diseases and parasite infections.

See the links at right for more information on parasites including intestinal worms and heartworms.