Tag Archive: diarrhea


What is Parvovirus?

By: Dr. John Crumley DSC_0303-001

Parvoviruses are a large group with almost every mammal species (including humans) seems to have its own parvovirus. Fortunately, each virus is specific for which animal species it can infect (i.e. the canine parvovirus will not infect people). However, the canine parvovirus will affect most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, and foxes).

While the parvoviruses of other species have been well known for decades, the canine parvovirus is a relative newcomer. The original canine parvovirus, discovered in 1967, lead to a series of infections in the 1970’s and unfortunately still to this day.

Golden Retriever puppyThe most common form of the virus is called CPV-2b, but there is a new particularly virulent strain of parvovirus (CPV-2c) which is rapidly becoming the second most common form of canine parvovirus. Fortunately, currently available vaccines cover all variants of canine parvovirus including CPV-2c, as do all the commercially available diagnostic test kits.

After a 3-7 day incubation period, the disease manifests itself with vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite. If untreated, death from dehydration and sepsis is most commonly the end result. If treated with aggressive care, up to 80% of patients will survive and go on to lead normal lives after infection. Since the treatment is extensive, often times requiring isolation in a veterinary hospital for many days, we must be prepared for significant expense of treatment (often times over $1,000).

Treatment for parvovirus infection centers on supportive care. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective antiviral drugs and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure. Puppy on Fluids Intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotics, and pain medication are paramount if the pet is to survive infection.

The sad truth of canine parvovirus is that we could eradicate it with simple vaccination as we have with other terrible diseases (ever heard of small pox? ) Vaccination must be done at an early age (as early as 6-7 weeks of age), then repeated every 3-4 weeks until the pet is 16 weeks of age, then every 1-3 years into adulthood.

The difficultly lies in the robust nature of the virus; it can live on surfaces (pavement, grass, dirt, bottom of shoes and the SAMSUNGlike) for months to years. A sick pet’s feces and/or vomit can spread thousands to millions of viral particles into the environment. If an unvaccinated, or undervaccinated, dog sniffs or licks up viral particles, they can become infected.

So, if you have a new puppy, make sure you get him or her vaccinated at the correct times with your veterinarian and avoid areas where dogs congregate until the vaccine series is finished.

Holiday Pet Hazards

By: Bob Baker,DVM Dr. Baker

The Holiday season brings out many potential problems for your pet.

Chocolate exposure and ingestion can cause anything from mild stomach upset to life threatening medical emergencies. If you are giving chocolate as a gift, it is best it does not get put under the tree. The nose of a dog will be able to sniff through the package and gain access to the goodies.

Sugar free treats made with an artificial sweetener called Xylitol can cause liver failure in the dog, Picture 217but is safe for humans. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Macadamia nuts are also toxic to dogs. Some dogs will like the taste of eggnog, and the optional alcohol can be a real problem.

Other dietary misadventures with bones, fatty leftovers, candy etc. can cause significant gastrointestinal upset. Bones can cause obstruction and require surgery, there can be an association of high fat foods and pancreatitis that can be life threatening.

Decorative plants such as poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and lilies can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal upset and holly mistletoe_dogand mistletoe can cause rhythm disturbances in the heart.

Tree tinsel and gift wrapping ribbon can be very entertaining to a curious cat, unfortunately cats can swallow these objects creating a linear foreign body which are incredibly dangerous. They cause a plication (accordion movement) of the intestine on itself and can saw right through multiple areas of intestine. It is very important your cat be seen as soon as possible if you suspect a linear foreign body. People will sometimes put a bow or ribbon around an animals neck which if equipped with a breakaway safety feature could result in choking

The Christmas tree itself can be a hazard, the water in the base can be a source of bacteria or can contain toxic substances to maintain freshness of the tree . We have also seen the curious pet try to climb the tree causing it to fall.

dog-christmas-lights 1Christmas lights have their associated electrical cords are another hazard. Chewing electrical cords can cause painful oral burns.

If you have any questions, just give us a call at (775) 358-6880.

Happy Holidays !

Many people have been talking about the Swimmer’s itch outbreak at Pyramid Lake. We have gotten a couple of cases where clients have asked about what could happen to their pet’s who have been swimming out there. This bacterial bloom poses a potential risk to people and dogs. Since dogs drink much more water than we do when we go to the lake, it would be prudent to keep them out of the water when spending time at Pyramid Lake until the water temperatures return to lower levels. There aren’t any beach closures, but they are advising people to avoid the warmest water at shallow beaches, particularly at the North Nets, South Nets and Long Beach areas.

Though in humans swimmer’s itch primarily affects the skin, in dogs this can also cause gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms of a dog’s infection may be pustules and itching on the skin and diarrhea with mucus and blood.  Your pet may become very thin due to this diarrhea and a loss of appetite. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms please give us a call and bring them in.

Read more: Swimmer’s Itch on Dogs | eHow.com 

Things to Know About Giardia 

                               By: Dr. Michelle Nguyen 

Most of us have all heard of Giardia infection in humans causing awful diarrhea.  Well dogs and cats can get Giardia, an intestinal protozoan parasite, as well.  Transmission of the parasite is via the fecal-oral route and occurs when animals ingest fecal material containing the cyst (infective stage) from an infected animal.  Clinical signs may vary from pet to pet, however the most common presenting complaint in animals with Giardia infection is diarrhea.

Diagnosing Giardia infection requires a fecal sample from your pet.  The sample will be sent off to the lab for a clinical pathologist to read and results typically return in 1-2 days.  If Giardia infection is confirmed, your veterinarian will then prescribe an anti-protozoal medication.  After completion of the medication, another fecal sample should be submitted in order to confirm that the infection has been cleared.  

Giardia cysts are immediately infective when passed in the feces and can survive in the environment.  As a result, feces containing these cysts are a source of infection and reinfection for your pet.  Removing feces regularly can limit environmental contamination.  The best way to prevent infection is to avoid situations where your pet can come into contact with contaminated substances, such as exposure to and drinking contaminated water.  Having good hygiene by washing your hands between petting your dog and other dogs, as well as after handling fecal material are great prevention methods. Giardia is a treatable disease with a good prognosis. Regular veterinary check-ups, with fecal examination, are especially important in the diagnosis of Giardia.