Have you noticed that your dog eats grass and wondered just how normal it is? The answer to this question is a little more nuanced than just saying yes it is normal or no it is not. However, for most pet parents, there is nothing to worry about. 

Why Is My Dog Eating Grass All of a Sudden?

If you have always known your dog to eat grass every day when they go out or they normally graze like a cow, they are probably bored or just like grass. However, if your dog is eating grass and not food, or they have started eating grass all of a sudden, there is likely a reason for it.

A lot of dogs eat grass because they enjoy eating grass. They simply like the fresh greenery outside and enjoy how it tastes. However, for some dogs, it could be an indicator of an upset stomach a lack of fiber, or another type of dietary deficiency.

Here are some common questions that dog owners ask about their pets eating grass.

Should I let my dog eat grass when they’re sick?

Eating grass can cause vomiting for some dogs. In many cases, a dog will eat grass instinctively to soothe an upset stomach. This is not generally considered harmful.

How long after eating grass will a dog vomit?

Only about a quarter of all dogs vomit after eating grass. Most of the time it is caused by them gagging on the long strands of grass, so the incidence occurs immediately. 

Why is my dog eating grass and throwing up?

If your dog is eating grass and throwing up it is a likely indication of a stomach problem and you should consult your local veterinarian. 

Why is my dog eating grass and having diarrhea?

If your dog is eating grass and having diarrhea it is a likely indication of a stomach problem and you should consult your local veterinarian.

Should I stop my dog from eating grass?

There is no need to stop your otherwise healthy dog from eating grass. However, you should stop your dog from eating any grass that has been treated with a fertilizer, pesticide or other chemical as these types of chemicals are generally poisonous to dogs. 

Is there a good substitute for a dog eating grass?

If you are concerned about toxins or just prefer that your dog not eat grass there are substitutes on the market ranging from specialty grasses to expensive herbal substitutes. Many pet owners opt to feed their dogs other vegetables instead, such as lettuce, celery, and even carrots. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Grass?

It can be okay for dogs to eat grass, but only if you are sure that it is not due to underlying gastrointestinal issues. If you find that your dog is eating grass, it is best to consult your local veterinarian and discuss your dog's bowel habits, dietary indiscretions, and food and treats.

As your companion pet ages, they face increased health concerns just like their human companions do. You may watch your senior pet and worry that they might be aging and losing some of their cognitive abilities. Sight, hearing, and blood sugar have all become common concerns.  

Across the country, local veterinarians are hearing more and more people ask if their pet can get dementia.  

Just like humans, dogs and cats can develop dementia as they age. Veterinarians call this Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. 

very old cocker spaniel nearing the end of its days
very old cocker spaniel nearing the end of its days

What is Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? 

It is a disease that is comparable to Alzheimer's in humans. The disease begins to onset as a dog ages. “CDS” is a neurological degenerative disorder of senior dogs and cats characterized by gradual cognitive decline. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is the official name for what we might commonly call “doggy/kitty dementia”. 

What Age Does CDS Start? 

The exact age at which any dog might start to experience symptoms of dementia varies. Studies have shown that cognitive decline can start as early as 10 years of age in cats and dogs.   

To rule out other causes of your pet's symptoms, the veterinarian may use additional tools such as blood and urine tests.

What Are some signs of Dementia? 

Some of the first signs of dementia that many people notice are their pets staring at walls or looking off into space. Other common signs people tend to notice are not knowing their owners are in the same room or pacing around a lot with no sense of direction or reason.  

In addition to disorientation, confusion, and increased anxiety, pets dealing with this form of dementia may no longer respond to their name, stop playing, and become more irritable. 

(Other symptoms includeà Waking up in the night; increased daytime sleeping, Inactivity 

Increased vocalization, often at night) inappropriate urination or defecation in the house, lethargy, decreased interest in play or other activities, decreased responsiveness to the owner and other pets, and abnormal sleep patterns).

How long can your pet Live with Dementia? 

Most of the time they live for about two years after diagnosis when they have dementia, sometimes longer. Much like with humans, when a dog or cat is diagnosed with dementia, quality of life should take the focus over quantity of years. Work with your family’s veterinarian to ensure your pet is as content and comfortable as possible.  

How Do You Treat Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? 

Work with your veterinarian to find the right supplements and medications to support your dog’s health. Provide your dog with a safe but stimulating environment and keep them on a regular routine. These things will best help them cope with developing dementia.  

  1. Dietary changes and supplements: Your dog may be put on a specific therapeutic diet designed to help. These diets contain ingredients such as antioxidants, fats and fatty acids that may protect and promote healthy brain cells. 
  2. Cognitive enrichment: Cognitive enrichment may improve your dog’s brain function. Cognitive enrichment consists of exercise, social interactions, providing new toys and teaching new commands to your dog. 

Can We Prevent Dementia? 

As with many diseases found in both humans and animals, there is no guarantee for avoiding some diseases. When it comes to dementia in dogs and cats there are genetics and some environmental factors that can’t be controlled.  

However, there are many things that you can do to help your pet have a better chance of living a longer, healthier, and happier life. Quality food and clean drinking water are an absolute must for a healthy dog. So is lots of exercise and mental stimulation.  

One of the best things you can do for yourself, and your pet is to exercise and play with them. It will help you both have a better, longer life. 

If you notice your pet behaving differently or in a way you do not understand, do not hesitate to contact your local veterinarian. Catching problems early gives your pet a better chance to overcome them.  

Vaccines help keep your dog healthy by protecting them from potentially deadly diseases. Having your dog vaccinated also helps protect other dogs and even humans in some cases.

This doesn’t mean that every vaccine is right for every dog on an annual basis. Here is a look at which vaccines are available for your dog and when they might need them.

Dog Vaccinations Schedule

Vaccine TypeFrequency
Rabies (Required, see your state website for specific laws)Every 1 to 3 years after the initial vaccine
DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus)Every 1 to 2 years
Bordetella (Kennel Cough)Every 6 months to 1 year
Influenza, Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Lyme diseaseAs needed based on lifestyle and location

What Shots Does My Dog Need Annually?

Depending on the type of vaccine your vet uses and the state laws where you live, your dog will need a rabies shot every one to three years. Additionally, they will need their DHPP every one to two years as well.

If you board your dog anywhere, have them groomed, or for any other reason have them around other dogs outside your household, you should have them vaccinated for Bordetella every six months to a year.

Which Dog Vaccines Are Absolutely Necessary?

Rabies vaccines are required by law in all but two states. Ohio mandates rabies vaccines by county so they are still required, just not by state law. Hawaii has irradicated rabies from their islands.  They require long quarantine periods before bringing pets into the state. If you are not a resident of Hawaii, it is likely that a rabies vaccine is required for your dog where you live.

DHPP is not legally required, but it is required for taking your dog into almost any public space that welcomes dogs. Most animal hospitals, kennels, and groomers also require a Bordetella vaccine.

Vaccines for diseases like Influenza, Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, and Lyme disease are not required but may be needed under certain circumstances. For example, Lyme disease is only prevalent in certain regions making the vaccine very important to some but not others.

Is My Dog Too Old for Vaccinations?

There is no upper age limit on vaccinating dogs. Vaccines help protect dogs from harmful diseases and are needed throughout their lives. There is no evidence that vaccines are particularly risky or in any way decrease in benefit to senior dogs.

Your senior dog should be vaccinated on the same adult dog schedule they have been on unless otherwise directed by your local veterinarian.

How Do I Know Which Vaccines My Dog Needs

You will need to keep your dog’s vaccines up to date from puppyhood throughout adulthood. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog and the lifestyle that your household leads. They will help you decide which vaccines are right for your dog. They will also help you decide how often your dog should receive vaccines.

If you have any questions or concerns about having your dog vaccinated ask your local veterinarian. They will help you chart the right path for your pet’s optimal health.

Arthritis is the leading cause of pain in older pets. No one wants their pet to hurt, so treating the condition is a top priority.

How Did My Pet Get Arthritis?

Your pet’s body works much as the human body does. As your pet ages, they face many of the same complications and degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis. This kind of arthritis causes deterioration of the joints which leads to pain in humans, cats, and dogs.

How Can I Tell if My Pet Has Arthritis?

You may notice that your pet is having a problem with joint pain if you see them walking or moving gingerly, over-grooming a certain spot, or even showing outward signs like crying or whimpering. Your veterinarian can diagnose a problem like arthritis.

If you suspect that your four-legged friend has arthritis, you should schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian. It is a good idea to see your veterinarian anytime your pet behaves in an unusual way or a way you don’t understand. It could be a sign of an underlying medical issue.

3 Practical Ways to Help a Pet with Arthritis

If your cat or dog has arthritis, here are three ways that you can make a difference in how they feel every day.

1. Improve Your Pet’s Diet

What your pet eats plays a huge role in how they feel. You can talk to your veterinarian about adding supplements and making changes to your pet’s food. Herbal supplements, glucosamine, and fish oil have all shown positive results for pets.

2. Ask Your Veterinarian About Pain Management

Just like older people, sometimes older animals need help with pain management. Never give your pet medicine meant for a human. Talk to your veterinarian about how to help your pet manage pain.

Veterinarians can prescribe medicine that will help control pain. Many vet offices can even use alternative pain management therapies on your pet like laser therapy, massage, and even stem cell therapy.

3. Make Lifestyle Changes for Your Pet

It may sound kind of corny at first, but if you put a little bit of thought into it, you can make a lot of small changes to your pet’s lifestyle that will make a big difference in how they feel. You live with your pet and know them best, so you are likely to be the one who will notice what they need most on a daily basis.

For example, if you notice your dog is struggling with the stairs, you might consider building him a ramp. Adding an extra step to get up in bed can help a dog who is having a hard time climbing into the bed as they get older. Both dogs and cats with arthritis can really benefit from a heated bed to help relieve their aches and pains as they rest.

Treatment for Arthritis in Pets

If your pet has arthritis they do not have to suffer from pain. Veterinarians can help you diagnose and treat what is bothering your pet. Schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian now if you suspect your pet needs help with arthritis.

It is essential to have a first aid kit for cats and dogs. Pets can have emergencies just like other members of the family. Having a first aid kit handy can really save the day!

If you don’t already have a first aid kit for your pet you can either purchase one or build one yourself. Purchasing a premade kit can cost anywhere from $15 to more than $100 depending on which one you choose and what is included in it.

To get the best pet first aid kit, building your own is often the right option. When you build your own kit you will have complete control over each item that goes into the kit and its quality. A first aid kit for cats and dogs will be similar to a first aid kit for humans, but there are some differences.

Here’s a look at what goes into a pet first aid kit and how to build a first aid kit for cats and dogs.

What Items Should Be in a Dog First Aid Kit?

It is important to remember that an injured dog, even your best friend, can be volatile when in pain or scared. It is essential to have a soft muzzle to use in a dog first aid kit. This is necessary to have on hand even if your dog never needs a muzzle at any other time.

Additionally, you will want to stay away from any products that will stick to your dog’s fur, like self-adhesive gauze or bandages.

Dog First Aid Kit List

Here is a short list of things you will want to include when building a dog first aid kit:

  • Soft muzzle
  • Gauze
  • Non-stick bandages
  • Wide rubber wrap (to hold the gauze in place)
  • Antibiotic spray
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Milk of magnesia
  • Digital thermometer

What Should a Cat First Aid Kit Contain?

To make the best first aid kit for cats, you will need to consider your own cat specifically. An injured cat may need to be restrained. Unlike a dog which only needs a muzzle, a cat's claws can become very dangerous. You will need a towel, small blanket, or thick pillowcase to help restrain the cat if necessary.

You may also want to consider an agent to stop bleeding in case your cat has an injury to its claw nail. This is especially true if you clip your cat’s nails at home.

Cat First Aid Kit List

Here is a short list of things you will want to include when building a dog first aid kit:

  • Blanket or towel to restrain
  • Gauze
  • Non-stick bandages
  • Wide rubber wrap (to hold the gauze in place)
  • Inflatable or soft e-collar or recovery collar
  • Syringe to flush wounds & administer meds

DIY: How to Build a Pet First Aid Kit

Since you are building this pet first aid kit, personalize it for your pet and specific situation. Consider building a larger kit if you have multiple pets. You may only include items for one type of animal, but if you have cats and dogs, you may want a kit that includes items for both.

Start by including items to restrain and comfort your pet like the soft muzzle, e-collar, and perhaps a soft absorbent cloth that can be used to dry them off or keep them warm.

Include wound care items like gauze, a roll of rubber strip to secure gauze, and a pet-safe wound wash. Tweezers and a magnifier might be needed to remove a thorn, stinger, or piece of glass.

You should include copies of your pet's vet records and any other official paperwork in the first aid kit. Use a water-tight container to keep any medicine your pet takes regularly that they might need in case of an emergency.

Keep Pets Safe with a First Aid Kit for Cats and Dogs

Being prepared for emergencies is part of keeping your family safe and pets are part of the family. If you need guidance about any of the items that should be included in your pet’s first aid kit seek guidance from your local veterinarian.

Puppy vaccines are one of the most important aspects of keeping your new friend safe and healthy as well as ensuring that they have a long life. There are so many things to keep straight when caring for a new puppy that which vaccines they need and when can become a bit confusing.

The following chart shows which vaccines your puppy will need as a general rule of thumb. However, it is important to remember that location, lifestyle, and your dog’s size and breed will all play a role in determining which vaccines they will need throughout their life. You will need to consult with your veterinarian to know exactly which vaccines your puppy will need and when to get them.

Puppy Vaccine Schedule

Puppy’s AgeRecommended Vaccinations
6 to 8 weeksDistemper, parvovirus
10 to 12 weeksDHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus)
16 to 18 weeksDHPP, rabies
12 to 16 monthsDHPP, rabies

Optional Vaccinations for Puppies

Distemper, parvovirus, DHPP, and rabies vaccines are recommended to keep your puppy healthy. There are additional vaccinations that you can ask for that are helpful but not absolutely necessary. As with all vaccinations, you will want to discuss the best option for your puppy with your local veterinarian. 

Puppy’s AgeOptional Vaccinations
6 to 8 weeksBordetella
10 to 12 weeksInfluenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
16 to 18 weeksInfluenza, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease
12 to 16 monthsCoronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme disease

These are not vaccines that are required for every puppy. In many cases, they are a great idea and will protect your puppy from dangerous illnesses. Whether or not your puppy needs these specific vaccinations also depends on where you live and the type of lifestyle that you will lead with your dog. This is why it is so important to consult your veterinarian when deciding on the appropriate vaccination schedule for your puppy.

How Many Shots Does a Puppy Need Before Going Outside?

About a week after your puppy’s first round of shots it is okay to take them out in your own yard. That doesn’t mean they are ready to go play in the dog park and get social just yet, though.

After their second set of shots, you can take your puppy for walks on the sidewalk. They can also socialize with friendly dogs that you know are fully vaccinated.

After the third round of puppy shots, your puppy is ready to face the world and can go to a dog park. This is because they are now fully protected from the most likely puppyhood diseases.

Is It Okay to Be Late on Puppy Shots?

If you have a new puppy, they are going to need to be properly vaccinated. That means getting the appropriate shots and boosters on the correct schedule. If you get off schedule by more than two weeks, your puppy’s immunity may suffer.

If you have a puppy that needs to be vaccinated, contact your local veterinarian right away to schedule an appointment. 

As a pet owner, you want to do everything in your power to keep your furry friend safe and secure. One way to ensure that your pet can be quickly identified and returned to you if lost is by microchipping them. Microchipping is a safe, easy, and inexpensive way to give your pet permanent identification that can be used to track them back to you.

inside of the exam room at the vet clinic

What is Microchipping?

A microchip is a small, rice-sized device that is inserted under your pet's skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The microchip contains a unique identification number that can be read with a scanner. The microchip is registered with a database that holds your contact information, so if your pet is lost and found, they can be identified and quickly returned to you.

Why Microchipping is Helpful

Pets are curious creatures and can easily wander off, especially if they are not kept in a secure area. Collars with identification tags are helpful, but they can fall off or be removed. Microchipping is a permanent way to identify your pet, even if they lose their collar.

Microchipping is also helpful for pets that are stolen. Unfortunately, pet theft is a growing problem, and pets that are not microchipped can be difficult to identify and retrieve. With a microchip, you increase the chances of being reunited with your furry friend if they are ever stolen. If you ever come across an animal with no owner present, please make sure to take it to a local vet or shelter where they can scan the animal for a microchip & successfully return the pet to its owner.

Another benefit of microchipping is that it can help settle ownership disputes. If your pet is lost and then found by someone else, the microchip can help prove that you are the rightful owner. This can be especially helpful in cases where pets have been lost for long periods of time, and their appearance may have changed.

Finally, microchipping is a requirement for some pet-related activities. For example, if you plan to travel with your pet overseas, some countries require a microchip as part of their import regulations. Microchipping is also necessary for some dog breeds to compete in shows.

The Microchipping Process

The microchipping process is quick and painless. The device is inserted with a needle, and your pet may feel a small pinch, similar to getting a vaccine. Once the microchip is inserted, it is registered with a database, which includes your contact information.

It is essential to keep your contact information up to date in the database. If you move or change your phone number, make sure to update the database as soon as possible. This ensures that if your pet is lost, you can be easily contacted.


Microchipping is a simple way to provide your pet with permanent identification that can help them be quickly returned to you if lost. It is a safe and inexpensive procedure that can be done at your vet's office. With a microchip, you can rest easy knowing that you have taken an important step in keeping your furry friend safe and secure.

Veterinary lab screenings are a vital aspect of maintaining your pet's overall health and well-being. These screenings are necessary to catch any health issues before they become a more serious problem. Many pet owners are not aware of the importance of these screenings, which is why we've put together this article to explain why they are necessary.

Early Detection of Health Problems

Lab screenings can detect diseases, infections, and other health issues that may be invisible to the naked eye. This is because many diseases and infections can take months or even years to manifest visible symptoms. By the time visible symptoms appear, the disease or infection may have already progressed to a more advanced stage. With lab screenings, veterinarians can detect these issues early, making it easier to treat and manage them.

Assessing Overall Health

Veterinary lab screenings assess your pet's overall health. They can help identify potential health risks, including cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease, which can be treated or managed more effectively if detected early. These screenings can also identify underlying issues that may not be visible during a regular physical exam. This information can help veterinarians provide more targeted and effective treatment, improving the quality of life for your pet.

Monitoring Chronic Health Issues

If your pet has a chronic health condition, lab screenings can help monitor the progression of the condition. For example, if your pet has diabetes, regular blood tests can monitor your pet's blood sugar levels, helping to ensure that treatment is working effectively. This can help prevent complications from the condition, such as blindness or nerve damage.

Preventive Care

Veterinary lab screenings can help prevent health issues from developing in the first place. For example, Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’S) which can be easily treated if caught early. These tests can also detect other diseases that are easily preventable with vaccines, such as parvovirus and distemper.

Peace of Mind for Pet Owners

Perhaps the most significant benefit of veterinary lab screenings is peace of mind for pet owners. These screenings can help detect hidden health issues that may not be noticeable to the pet owner, giving them the confidence that they are doing everything possible to keep their pet healthy. Regular lab screenings can also provide a baseline of your pet's overall health, making it easier to detect changes in their health over time.

In conclusion, veterinary lab screenings are a critical part of maintaining your pet's health and wellbeing. They provide early detection of health issues, assess overall health, monitor chronic health issues, provide preventive care, and give pet owners peace of mind. We highly recommend scheduling regular veterinary lab screenings for your pet to ensure that they live a long and healthy life.

What are the benefits of spaying or neutering my pet?

When you spay or neuter your pet, you are doing your part to reduce the overpopulation of cats and dogs in your neighborhood, with added benefits such as reduced incidence of some pet diseases, improved pet behaviors, and a longer, happier life for your pet.

When should I spay or neuter my pet?

You can determine the best age to spay or neuter your pet by consulting with your veterinarian, who will take your pet's species, breed, size, and lifestyle into consideration before making a recommendation.

What happens to my pet during spay/neuter surgery?

Your pet will be placed under anesthesia, the spay/neuter procedure will be performed, and the incision will be closed with stitches, except in male cats who heal without stitches. 

How can I help my pet recover from their spay or neuter surgery?

Your pet will be groggy post-surgery and should be confined and observed with water and half portions for a day or two. Their wound should be kept dry and your pet's activity should be restricted for 10 to 14 days post-surgery.

The primary goal of spay and neuter surgery is to reduce the overpopulation of domesticated animals. Unaltered felines can give birth to over 100 kittens in their lifetime, while female dogs can have around 70 puppies in theirs. This puts a tremendous strain on neighborhood shelters and results in large numbers of unwanted pets that have to be euthanized. 

Benefits of Spay/Neuter Surgery

Beyond the impact that spaying and neutering have on overpopulation, spaying female pets and neutering male pets benefit their health and quality of life as well as resolve some behavior issues. Specific benefits include:

  • Prevents Some Pet Diseases and Cancers. For example, spaying reduces the risk of uterine infections in both cats and dogs, while neutering prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems for both species.
  • Improves Behavior Problems in Some Pets. Spaying prevents both cats and dogs from going into heat, which, in turn, stops unwanted suitors from coming around to bother your pet. Neutering often reduces roaming, leg-lifting, and mounting in dogs as well as urine spraying in cats.
  • Increases Length and Quality of Life in Pets. Due to fewer behavioral problems, reduced risk of injury, and reduced susceptibility to infections and degenerative conditions, altered cats live 3 to 5 years longer, and altered dogs live 1 to 3 years longer than unaltered pets.

The cost of spay and neuter surgery may include vaccinations if your pet is not up-to-date, and costs vary based on your location. However, those costs are trivial compared to the cost of medical care for many litters and the price tag for treating the serious health conditions that altering your pet prevents. Some communities even offer discount spay and neuter programs to reduce the number of stray pets in their neighborhoods.

Concerns About Spay/Neuter Surgery

Concern about spay and neuter procedures revolves around the health risks posed by sterilizing your pet too early. Research has shown a correlation between early sterilization and a higher likelihood of some cancers, joint problems, and urinary incontinence in cats and dogs.

Early or pediatric sterilization occurs between 6 to 8 weeks of age in most breeds of cats and dogs. Standard spay and neuter procedures are performed at 5 to 9 months old. Some pet owners opt to wait until their pet goes into first heat at between 5 to 12 months of age. However, most cats are not mature until 18 months old and large breed dogs usually don't reach full maturity until 12 to 18 months old.

If you're confused about the right age to have your pet spayed or neutered, your veterinarian can provide specific recommendations based on your pet's species, size, breed, and lifestyle that also take into account your individual concerns. There are products that basically function as a chastity belt for your female pet when they are outdoors and protect them from unwanted pregnancy until you decide the time is right to have them sterilized.

How Spay/Neuter Surgery Is Performed

Spay and neuter procedures are very safe and simple surgeries. A shot of sedatives and painkillers is administered to your pet before general anesthesia. Dogs are intubated with a breathing tube in their throat during surgery. Whereas, cats are fitted with an oxygen mask because their sterilization procedures are performed very quickly. While your pet is sedated, a machine will monitor their heart rate and oxygen level. Female dogs and cats are kept warm with a heating pad during surgery. 

In spay surgery, an incision is made into the abdomen of your female pet immediately below the belly button. Through this incision, the whole reproductive tract, including the uterus and both ovaries, is removed. The incision is then closed with two layers of stitches placed beneath your pet's skin, which will eventually fall out or be absorbed by the body. Skin staples, skin glue, or stitches are some of the methods used to close your pet's skin. Spay surgery takes 15 to 20 minutes for cats and 20 to 90 minutes for dogs.

Male dogs are neutered through an incision that is made in their skin at the base of the penis close to the scrotum. This incision is used to remove both testicles. Stitches are then placed under the skin to close the wound; these stitches will eventually fall out and be absorbed by the body. Skin staples, skin glue, or stitches are also used to close the skin after your pet is neutered. Neuter surgery in dogs takes anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.

For male cats, the testicles are removed through an incision made in the scrotum skin. The incision is not sealed with stitches, however, it will eventually close by itself. Male cats can be neutered in as little as 2 minutes.

Spay/Neuter Recovery 

Spay surgery is more invasive than neutering and has a longer recovery time. That being said, aftercare instructions for both spay and neuter procedures are pretty much the same. Some things you can do to help your pet recover include:

  • Keep your pet confined in a crate or carrier for the remainder of the day post-surgery so that they can rest.
  • Take the day off to supervise your pet.
  • Encourage your pet to hydrate by placing water close by.
  • Give your pet half the usual portion of food for the first day or two after surgery.
  • Restrict your pet's activity for 10 to 14 days.
  • Keep the incision area dry.
  • Prevent your pet from licking the incision with an e-collar.
  • Check your pet's incision daily for redness, swelling, heat, and odor.

If you have any concerns about your pet's recovery, reach out to your veterinarian for further advice.

What is giardia? 

Giardia is a microscopic parasite present in tainted food, drink, and surfaces which causes gastrointestinal conditions.

Can pets give giardia to their owners? 

The giardia strains that affect dogs and cats are not typically the same strains that affect humans, therefore, the chances of catching giardia from your pet are slim.

How is giardia transmitted? 

Giardia is most commonly transmitted through contaminated water, soil, and feces.

What are the symptoms of giardiasis? 

Giardiasis causes gastrointestinal symptoms that include gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

How is giardiasis treated? 

Giardiasis can be treated with several prescription medications, and, in extreme cases, two medications may be combined for more effective treatment.

Giardia is a microscopic parasite that is present in tainted food, drink and soil, as well as on surfaces contaminated with infected human or animal feces. It causes giardiasis, a diarrheal disease characterized by common gastrointestinal symptoms. Pet feces can carry giardia bacteria even when the animals appear healthy. Giardia bacteria are also common in domestic animals such as cows and goats.

The giardia strains that affect dogs and cats are not the same strains that affect humans, so, the chances of catching giardia from your pet are slim. Even so, giardia is contagious as it can pass from person to person with ease. However, if you have exotic animals, ask your veterinarian if your pet is susceptible to zoonotic giardia. Zoonotic giardia is any strain of giardia that can spread between humans and animals and is prevalent in chinchillas, beavers, opossums, monkeys, and birds as well as goats, cows, and other domesticated animals.

Giardia Symptoms

Giardia infections can cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms in humans, pets, and other animals, but it is possible to exhibit no signs of illness. Common giardia symptoms include:

  • Stomach Cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Gas and Bloating
  • Soft Stools
  • Severe, Watery Diarrhea
  • Pain Above the Belly Button
  • Occasional Low-Grade Fever

Untreated giardiasis can evolve into a chronic gastrointestinal illness or result in dehydration, malnutrition, poor overall health, and even death.

Giardia Transmission & Prevalence

According to a 2006 study by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Cornell University (and other collaborators), the average prevalence of giardia infection in pets nationwide was 15.85% for dogs and 10.37% in cats. Cats and dogs in the Northeastern U.S. had the highest prevalence rates while cats and dogs in the Southeast had the lowest. The study represented populations that were owned and well-cared for. Sheltered and feral populations are assumed to have higher prevalence rates, and puppies and kittens are more susceptible to complications from giardiasis than adult dogs and cats. Giardia is transmitted to cats and dogs in several ways including:

  • Contact with Infected Feces. Pets who take an unhealthy interest in the feces of other domesitic or feral animals risk coming in contact with giardia.

  • Contaminated Soil. Rolling and playing in soil puts pets at risk of contracting giardia.
  • Grooming Contaminated Fur. If pets groom contaminated debris from their fur, they are likely to contract giardia.
  • Contaminated Water. Water from creeks, ponds, streams and other bodies of water can cause infection if it is tainted with giardia.

Giardia is present worldwide and has been included in the WHO's Neglected Disease Initiative. Human giardiasis infection is most prevalent in under-developed countries with poor water treatment and sanitary conditions at rates as high as 20-40% of the population with the highest incidence among children under 5 years of age. In developed countries, giardiasis rates range between 2% and 7%. Humans may also contract giardia from contaminated water sources as well as from poor hygiene while handling food, changing infected baby diapers, and close personal contact including high-risk sexual activity.

Giardia Diagnosis & Treatment

Giardiasis is diagnosed by a fecal test, whether the patient is a pet, domesticated animal, or human. The volume of giardia being passed in the stool changes from day to day and may be too low to identify from any one sample, necessitating the testing of many stool samples. Consequently, a doctor treating a human patient with uncertain infection status may order the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA test, which is a more accurate test. Less frequently, doctors will use an endoscope to examine the small intestine's lining and take samples from the gut to be tested in a lab. When a definitive cause of diarrhea hasn't been identified, this is done in more severe situations.

There are no approved over-the-counter treatments or home remedies available for giardiasis. Fenbendazole and metronidazole are the two medications that are most used for giardia in dogs, cats, and other animals. To treat severe giardiasis, these medications are often used for three to ten days and, if necessary, the two medications may be administered together. There are several medications that can be used to treat giardia infections in humans including metronidazole, tinidazole, and nitazoxanide. 

Giardia Prevention

Providing your pet with safe, clean drinking water is the strongest defense against giardia infection. It's crucial to prevent dogs from drinking water that has been contaminated by the feces of other animals.

Giardia can spread through surfaces and direct touch, so it's important to keep the spaces under your control generally clean and hygienic. This entails cleaning up your pet's excrement and cleaning up any toys, pet beds, your hands, and other surfaces that they come into touch with. High pet traffic areas, such as parks or daycare facilities, may increase your pet's risk of contracting the parasite.

Try to keep an eye out for activities that could raise their chance of being sick, including drinking from puddles or sniffing other animals' feces. If your dog leaves feces on the ground, pick it up and dispose of it right away to stop the spread of giardia. Use gloves, a sack over your hand, or a scooping device to protect yourself from coming into contact with feces.

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