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.
More than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year. Nearly 1 in 5 of those bitten will require medical attention, with children being the most common victims. Any dog, no matter the breed, size, age, or sex, can bite. In fact, it’s very common for young children to be bitten by a dog that they are familiar with. The good news, however, is that most dog bites are preventable.
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.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), also known as dry eye, is a common eye problem in dogs. It is typically the result of inadequate tear production or a deficiency in the quality of tears produced. Two tear glands, the lacrimal gland and nictitans gland (also called the gland of the third eyelid) are responsible for tear production and play a huge role in maintaining the health of your dog’s eyes. Tears supply nutrition to the cornea, keep the surface of the eye lubricated, and wash away debris from the eye. Inadequate tear production can lead to painful, red eyes and thick ocular discharge. KCS can affect one or both eyes. Some dogs may even develop corneal ulcers and a bacterial infection of the white of the eye secondary to KCS.
A dog’s eye with the third eyelid exposed