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6555 28th St SE

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(616) 575-6520

Hey there! We are busy busy busy here and Family Friends with no plans on slowing down!

We have a couple events that are coming up that you may want to check out! This weekend is the second annual Walk for Paws. This walk benefits the Companion Animal Fund, which is a fund for people who may not have the finances to care for their sick pets in emergent cases. The walk starts at 3 and takes place at Cascade Township Park. Click here for more information!

Then there is the Bark in the Dark which benefits the West Michigan Humane Society. This takes place 10/6 at Riverside Park! Check here for more information.

Lastly, we will have a booth at Zoo goes Boo again this year. Though cold, last year was a blast and it was a good time seeing clients all dressed up! We will be there on October 21st only.

Lately we have been seeing quite a few Giardia cases. According to our lab techs, we see at least 1 positive case a day! Crazy! And those pesky protozoa are hardy! Read on for more info….

Giardia- That one parasite that seems impossible to get rid of

What is Giardia?
Giardia is a protozoa that affects the GI systems of animals. Infections typically go unnoticed but can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Unfortunately, Giardia is a pesky parasite that lives very well in different environments though it lives best in environments where conditions are cool and moist.

How does my pet get Giardia?
Most animals become infected after drinking water that came into contact with feces or eating other animal’s feces. They can also get it by walking through infected feces and later licking their paws.

How do I find out if my pet has Giardia?
If you are at any point concerned that your pet has Giardia, bring in a stool sample. A Giardia infection can’t always be found via stool sample but luckily, our trained lab technician have an eye for finding it.

There is another test that can be sent out to Idexx Laboratories. It is a snap test that has a 95% chance of finding Giardia if your pet is infected. 

What happens if my pet has Giardia?
After finding Giardia, the doctor will prescribe your pet either one or a combo of two medications. After the first diagnosis, your pet will likely be treated with a dewormer. Then we will recheck a stool sample in 1 month and make sure the infection is gone. If not, we will treat with the dewormer again, and likely an antibiotic. Unfortunately Giardia is very persistent.

If you have one positive pet in the house, we would recommend treating all of the pets in the house. That way they don’t pass it to each other after the treatment is done.

I’ve treated my pet, now what?
Firstly, we need to recheck a stool sample a month after finding the infection and make sure the infection has not returned.

In the mean time, you should make sure that you are cleaning up all stool samples. Ideally, we would recommend them having stools only on hard surfaces (while treating). That way you are able to see the stool sample, clean it up immediately, and bleach wash (1 cup bleach to every 1 gallon of water) the area afterwards.

Giardia can also live on the hair coat if you pet is very hairy around the hind end or is a messy pooper. In this case, you should wash and rinse their hind ends at the end of the treatment. Make sure you wear gloves while touching anything that came into contact with your pets feces, Giardia CAN be spread from animals to people.

Anything else that came in contact with your pet should also be washed. Food and water bowls, toys, and litter boxes should be washed in boiling water or in a high-temperature dishwasher. Furniture and carpeting should be steam-cleaned.

You should know that areas like dog parks and boarding facilities unfortunately do have a high rate of Giardia in their yards. We and all other facilities do our best at cleaning so chances of your pet getting infected are low unless there is another Giardia positive dog there at the same time. This is why we recommend yearly stool samples before boarding. However, checking once a year won’t always catch it.

You should make sure your pet is not drinking out of puddles, lakes, ponds, or rivers because they could be contaminated with feces from other animals. Also, make sure your pet is not eat their own feces or the feces of other animals.

If you have any questions, let us know!

JP