Dr. Kate Zimmerman / Tri-County Veterinary Hospital
Warmer isn’t better unless you’re a blood sucking, poop residing, headache causing or otherwise nasty parasite. THEN, the warm is great!
Things are heating up and weather patterns are increasingly unstable – just look at the crazy rain of the past week! But all this helps new diseases migrate north (and no wall will stop them). Some transmitted by mosquitoes make both pets and people pretty miserable. The human ones have odd names like Dengue and Chickengunya. Equine Encephalitis and West Nile viruses affect people, horses, and pets. Pets have their own mosquito related issues with heartworms. Then there’s a host of new tick borne diseases steadily creeping this way.
But bloodsuckers regularly make the news. Water borne diseases tend to be too drippy for headlines. Giardia – a single celled protozoan – is the most notorious and most common waterborne disease in the US. This nasty protozoan caused the historic “amoebic dysentery” of the early settlers and is still swimming happily in our lakes, streams, creeks, ponds and mud puddles. It can live free in the environment OR in your dog’s (or your) intestinal tract where it causes watery to bloody diarrhea – in both you and your dog. It’s sneaky – it can actually have limited to no symptoms in a dog, all the while staying infectious to you via the dog’s poop. And this summer? We’ve seen almost a case a day!
So, what to do? If your dog has the trots, trot them over to your vet (and bring some poop)! If you don’t want to join them in trotting, that’s easy! Wash your hands! (and don’t eat dog poop).