Finally after a long, hard winter, spring is in the air. The days are longer and sunnier, and that cold, biting wind is starting to soften into a cool, gentle breeze. Birds are singing and soon everything will be in bloom. Stir crazy dogs and humans alike can’t wait to go for long walks or enjoy outings at the dog park. What you may not realize is that your dog can pick up a variety of parasites and diseases while consorting with his buddies. The incidence of some of these diseases and infections has increased in recent years. Here we’ll tell you how to take preventative measures so your cute little pooch or fun-loving beast doesn’t become infested. Also get specific information on what kind of infections your dog is susceptible to and which pet medications you’ll need to treat your dog should he or she pick up a bug despite your best efforts.
Preventing Infection at the Dog Park
First of all, and most importantly, make sure that your dog is up to date on his or her vaccines and other regularly scheduled pet medications. Dogs can pick up dangerous diseases that are difficult to treat, and the best way to avoid them is to prevent them. Before going to the dog park, your canine companion should be vaccinated against distemper, parvo, and rabies. Your pet should also be taking preventative heartworm medication. Full-grown heartworms can be fatal and costly to treat. Most puppies can begin heartworm medicine after six weeks. Other vaccines that you may want to consider are Leptospira and Giardia. Read more about these bacterial infections below. Other things you can do to proactively prevent disease is to bring your own water bowl and make sure to clean up any “messes” your dog leaves behind. Communal water bowls and feces in dog parks are breeding grounds for bacteria and parasites. The more people that clean up after their dogs, the better for everyone involved. Also keep an eye on your dog to make sure he doesn’t engage in the unmentionable, but oh-so-common dog activity of poop-eating. For your own safety, don’t walk around barefoot in the dog park, and always use an antibacterial hand sanitizer after leaving.
Parasites are the most prevalent problem you’ll have to watch out for after taking your dog out to socialize. Dogs can pick up a variety of icky bugs from the soil, water, other dogs, or feces. These parasites include hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, fleas, lice, and mites that cause mange. Symptoms that show your dog is infected with worms include weight loss in spite of a normal appetite, vomiting, worms in stools, a low energy level, and a swollen belly. The best way to avoid most of these parasites is to make sure that your pet regularly takes flea medicine and heartworm medicine that protects against these parasites. Heartworm medications also kill most other worms, except for adult heartworms which require stronger medications. Your pet’s anti-worm medication doesn’t have to be costly. The ingredients in most worm medicines are ivermectin and pryantel pamoate. You can get up to a 48% discount on these generic drugs through free HelpRx coupons. Search our discounts database for your coupons.
Common fungal infections that dogs can pick up from swallowing or sniffing soil are called blastomycosis and coccidioidomycosis. Signs of fungal infection include fever, coughing, lethargy, and sometimes diarrhea if the fungi have contaminated the digestive tract. Fungal infections may be treated with generic ketoconazole or itraconazole. Discounts for up to 84% off the price of ketoconazole can be found on HelpRx as well as discounts up to 93% off the price of itraconazole.
Canine influenza or dog flu is a fairly new virus that was originally unique to horses. It first spread from horses to greyhounds in 2004 at racing tracks in Florida. The virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted by contact with a contaminated surface. Signs of canine influenza include a runny nose, cough and fever. There aren’t medications that actually cure the virus, but symptoms can be managed while the dog’s immune system fights off the infection. Talk to your vet about how to make your pet more comfortable. Canine flu is usually not fatal.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted via contaminated water, food, or soil. Incidences of leptospirosis have increased in recent years. Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, shivering, pain, loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, vomiting, and even kidney and liver failure. This infection can be fatal. You can vaccinate your dog against leptospirosis, or the illness can be treated with antibiotics. Depending on the stage of the infection, your dog may have to be hospitalized. If the infection is not yet severe, it may be treated with penicillin. If it has advanced it can be treated with cefotaxime. Search for cefotaxime discount coupons for up to 55% off the regular price.
Giardiasis is a common intestinal infection that comes from Giardia parasites. Dogs, especially puppies, can catch giardiasis from the feces of other animals. Signs of giardiasis include diarrhea and greasy, soft stools with an unusually foul odor. These symptoms may be acute or chronic. Only your vet can diagnose giardiasis through testing. He or she will probably prescribe metronidazole or Flagyl to treat the infection. Use our coupons to get up to 75% off the price of Flagyl or 67% off generic metronidazole when you buy your pet’s medication.
Your dog can catch kennel cough from close contact with other dogs, whether it’s in a park or a kennel. Signs of kennel cough include a dry, hacking cough and a runny nose. A dog’s immune system will usually fight off Kennel cough on its own, and your dog should fully recover in a couple of weeks. You can help relieve your dog’s symptoms by giving him or her a cough suppressant or an expectorant like guaifenesin. Only use this after talking to your veterinarian to get the right dosage. You may also put your furry friend in a room with a nebulizer and try not to use a collar. Use a harness to take your dog outside. If the infection is serious, your veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic like doxycycline. Get up to 71% off the price of doxycycline with our free coupons.
We offer many pet medications that treat infections and illnesses beyond just those listed above, be sure to search our discount database for the savings available for your pet’s needs. Also, visit our Pet Medicine Category Page for more information.