Coccidia are singled-celled organisms (protozoa) that can infect animals, leading to diarrhea and occasionally blood in the stool. Infection is common in both dogs and cats but typically does not cause illness. As a matter of fact, almost all cats will be infected with coccidia at least once in their life. While it is uncommon for signs of illness to occur, puppies, kittens, and immunocompromised pets are most at risk for coccidiosis, the disease caused by coccidia that can make the animal very sick.
Infection occurs when an animal accidentally ingests coccidia shed through the feces of an infected animal. Oftentimes, coccidia is transmitted through contact with a contaminated object or environment, such as water or soil that have been tainted with feces. Different species of coccidia infect different animals. From what we know, species that infect dogs do not infect cats and vice versa. One particular coccidia species that is common in cats, Toxoplasma gondii, is dangerous for humans, particularly pregnant individuals, as it can cause Toxoplasmosis.
Giardia are single-celled organisms (protozoa) that can infect both people and pets, such as dogs, cats, and even chinchillas. Giardiasis (the disease caused by Giardia) can lead to diarrhea and occasionally blood in the stool and vomiting. Giardia live in the small intestine and have two lifecycle stages: the first is the cyst stage. These cysts are inactive and shed through feces. Shedding of cysts can last days or even weeks. Once the cysts are ingested by a host, they mature and multiply in the small intestine. These mature parasites go on to produce cysts and the cycle is repeated.
Infection occurs when an animal or person accidentally ingests the cysts shed through the feces of an infected animal. Oftentimes, Giardia is transmitted through contact with a contaminated object or environment, such as water or soil that have been tainted with feces. Different species of Giardia infect different animals. From what we know, species that infect dogs do not infect cats and vice versa. It is also quite rare for the dog species to infect humans.
Ear infections are a relatively common condition in dogs and cats and occur in all age groups. In a study drawing information from nearly 1 million dogs in the UK, 7% of dogs experienced an ear infection annually. The typical ear infection causes inflammation of the ear canal, the tube that carries sound to the eardrum. This inflammation is known as otitis externa because it affects the outer ear. Otitis media and otitis interna affect the middle and inner ear respectively. Middle and inner ear infections are much more serious conditions that can ultimately lead to neurologic signs such as a head tilt or dizziness and loss of hearing.
Otitis externa can have multiple causes, including allergies, bacteria, yeast, parasites (such as ear mites), or foreign bodies.
As fun and festive as the holiday season may be, it can be a confusing and dangerous time for our pets. Decorations pose unique risks and that includes Christmas trees.
If your celebration includes setting up a tree, be sure to take precautions to keep pets safe. Here are 8 tree-trimming tips to keep in mind:
8 Ways to Pet-proof Your Christmas Tree
Opt for plastic or wooden ornaments instead of glass, which can break and cause injury.
Avoid using edible decorations to reduce temptation.
Toss out the tinsel — it can cause severe damage to your pet’s intestinal tract if ingested.
String lights and power cords can cause oral burns and electric shock if chewed. Hang them near the top of the tree or skip them altogether.
Anchor your tree to the wall or ceiling to prevent pets from knocking it over.
Sweep up pine needles, which can cause GI upset or a foreign body obstruction if too many are swallowed.
Cover up the tree stand to prevent pets from drinking the water, which can contain pesticides, fertilizer, or bacteria.
Don’t put wrapped gifts under the tree, especially if there’s food inside. Keep presents in a safe place until it’s time to open them.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious and usually fatal virus that affects both wild and domestic (“pet”) rabbits. The virus can be transmitted not only from rabbit to rabbit, but via food, bedding, or other contaminated materials.
A vaccination for the virus has existed for years in Europe and other parts of the world, but not in the United States. In October 2021, a new U.S.-developed vaccine received emergency authorization from the USDA. In preliminary studies, the vaccine proved highly effective in preventing disease with minimal side effects.
The vaccine series consists of the initial vaccine and a booster shot approximately 3 weeks after the initial dose. A rabbit is considered fully protected two weeks after the booster shot.