Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss how breeders and dog owners in general can do battle against the dreaded "bad potty bugs," giardia and coccidia.
These single cell organisms can become endemic, Greer notes.
"You can't get rid of it (on your property)," Greer said. "And that's the bad news. There's no really great treatment for either of them. There's nothing you can do that's going to disinfect your way out of it. We can't vaccinate our way out of it. So we need to talk about all of our options.
"Many of the organisms that we see in the GI tract, whether it's Giardia or coccidia or parvo, or tonight I got a text message from a lady in Florida about campylobacter, many of those are secondary to something else.
"So good gut health in general is your best defense. That's really the primary backbone of what you can do. So that means a diet that's appropriate, that doesn't cause your dog to have diarrhea or loose stools. A probiotic that's appropriate to keep the right bacteria there. Making sure you vaccinate for all the things you can vaccinate against, such as parvo. And making sure that you get regular fecal analysis done.
"One of the best defenses you have right now are the monthly heartworm preventives that you give orally... will give you better gut health because it controls intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms and whip worms. So the fewer other things your dog's body has to deal with, the healthier the gut, the better the dog's overall health is going to be.
"The most commonly affected dogs that get sick are gonna be the younger ones or the dogs that are immunocompromised. So in general, if your dog has a little loose stool but they're feeling OK, they're eating OK, they're not vomiting, everything is OK other than their stools are intermittently or consistently loose, you take a stool sample in to your vet and ask if they can send it to a reference lab if they can't do Giardia testing.
"Treatment for coccidia is Albon. Number one, you have to weigh (your dog) so your dose is accurate. Number two, if you're using the liquid, you have to shake it up really well because it does settle out.
"Treatment of Giardia, there is no labeled drug for use in the United States, but there are a couple that are commonly used and very effective. Metronidazole, fenbendazole (Do not use metronidazole on puppies that are very young or pregnant bitches) Panacur, Safeguard, those are fine."