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dog desiDesi is a two-year-old black Puggle that has a tail that will not stop! Her owner, Emily, is a very good pet parent. She has brought Desi to all of her needed regular veterinary wellness visits here at Countryside Veterinary Hospital. She feeds Desi prescription T/D diet to keep tartar scraped from her teeth (Puggles are susceptible to dental disease), keeps her on regular monthly flea and tick preventative, and also gives her monthly heartworm prevention that kills both baby heartworms in the blood and intestinal parasites in the GI tract that can be transmitted to humans.

Desi is a love – she sleeps on the bed and licks mom’s face – a lot! Emily takes Desi on plenty of walks, mainly to local parks. The regular exercise is so good for this energetic dog! While Desi was out enjoying herself one day, she also picked up a parasite. This year, like every year, Desi’s owner brought in a fecal sample to her annual wellness exam.

The fecal sample looked normal and well-formed with no obvious evidence that she had any problems. But Desi’s results showed Giardia cysts and that she was ELISA positive (immune system response), with exposure to Giardiasis. Giardia is a protozoal parasite that can cause severe diarrhea in humans and dogs. As for that face licking… well, good thing we know now and we have treated Desi with a simple medication added to her food!

Regular fecal testing is very important. We don’t just look for evidence of intestinal worms, but we also look for protozoans, some of which can be transmitted to humans. If you and your pets live with a child, an elderly family member, or there is someone in your home who has had cancer treatment, don’t miss a fecal test – both your pet’s and your family’s health could depend on it.

Dr. Tiffany Rule is a veterinarian at Countryside Veterinary Hospital. Her special interest is in client education and ensuring that pet owners have the knowledge to take the best care of their pets as possible.