Common Illness in Puppies: Giardiasis and Coccidiosis
Puppies are very susceptible to contracting diseases that older dogs’ immune systems can fight off. Giardiasis and coccidiosis are both parasitic infections that are common among young dogs.
Ingesting feces or soil infected with the parasites is the number one cause of contracting giardiasis and coccidiosis. Giardiasis can also be spread through drinking water contaminated with the parasite. Up to half of young puppies will contract giardiasis in their life; the condition is easily treatable.
Watery or bloody diarrhea and weakness are the main symptoms of coccidiosis. Dogs infected with giardiasis also will have soft, pungent diarrhea. Diarrhea is a serious health issue and can also be indicative of many other illnesses; make an appointment with your vet if you notice any sudden changes in your pet’s stool or urine output.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your vet will require a stool sample to test for any parasites. Examining the stool under a microscope should allow the vet to easily see any organisms present.
Prescription drugs to kill the parasite will be prescribed in both cases. Rehydrating your dog is essential, as diarrhea is extremely dehydrating. More fecal exams will be done in a few weeks to test the medications are working and look for any organisms still present.
This condition is spread through infected feces ; keeping your yard clean can greatly reduce your pet’s chances of contracting the disease. Giardiasis is also common in kennels. Until your dog is around a year old, refrain from boarding him – if you have to leave them at home, consider putting them with a friend or family member. The crowded conditions in kennels can cause contagious diseases to spread quickly and easily.
These intestinal parasites can wreak havoc on a puppy’s underdeveloped immune system. If your puppy shows any of the above symptoms, seek immediate veterinary attention; giardiasis and coccidiosis can be fatal if left untreated.