We love to hear about our patients! Funny or inspirational, we welcome short stories or exciting news about our furry (or feathered!) friends. If you have something you'd like to share about your animal companion,
"Why should we check a stool sample when my dog isn’t having diarrhea?" It’s a valid question. After all, when we “check a stool sample” we are running a fecal flotation exam which diagnoses parasites living in the intestinal tract. Many times intestinal parasites do cause diarrhea, but not always.
Consider “Brina”, a three year old border collie. Brina’s owner recently brought her to our clinic because she had started coughing. At first her owner wasn’t concerned because the cough was infrequent and Brina otherwise seemed very normal. As time went on, Brina began to seem slightly lethargic and her appetite was decreasing. Her stool was normal. Once Brina’s cough became more consistent, her owner decided to bring her to the clinic for an exam. Several dogs in the neighborhood had been diagnosed with a fungal respiratory infection called Blastomycosis, and Brina’s owner wanted to have that ruled out.
On exam, Brina was alert and active, but did cough a few times. She had a fever, but otherwise the exam was normal. Because she frequented dog parks, we recommended checking a stool sample for parasites. We collected a small blood sample to check for several tick-borne diseases and lastly we collected a urine sample to check for the fungal infection.
The results of our tests showed that Brina was positive for Lyme disease as well as hookworms. Hookworms are an intestinal parasite, but during its life cycle, the parasite can migrate in different tissues, including the lungs. Both Lyme disease and hookworm infestations are common diseases we diagnose regularly at our clinic. The majority of the animals who test positive are showing no clinical signs. If we catch these diseases early enough, they can be treated before causing clinical illness. If left untreated, they can have serious side effects such as secondary pneumonia, scarred lungs, and long term diminished lung capacity.
Brina was treated for both the Lyme disease and the hookworms, and her cough gradually diminished. Over time she made a full recovery. We are happy to report she is enjoying an active life playing and running agility.
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If you think your pet would make a great therapy animal, please visit www.tdi-dog.org or www.deltasociety.org for more information! The Wisconsin Humane Society also offers a wonderful opportunity to train and evaluate potential therapy animals. www.wihumane.org
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