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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Anderson


With summer upon us, I wanted to share some information to help you keep your dog safe this summer. With the warmer weather, we often see an uptick in the number of dogs who display signs of illnesses and a lot of it can be prevented. Some illnesses may not even present symptoms -- like giardia! I will briefly go over the causes of some common illnesses and how to prevent them. (Most of this info is directly from the CDC and AKC)



(Information from CDC)

What it is: Bacteria


  • Not all pets show symptoms

  • Fever

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Refusal to eat

  • Severe weakness and depression

  • Stiffness

  • Severe muscle pain

  • Inability to have puppies

How it spreads:

  • Usually through contamination from urine in water and grasses.

  • Often comes from rodents and especially prevalent in standing water that puddles on the surface and draws up urine from the ground from racoons, rats, and other rodents.

  • Can be contracted through eyes, nose, mouth, or cuts.

How to prevent:

  • Get your dog vaccinated! (Some vets consider lepto vaccine optional)

  • Do not allow your dog to drink water from the ground or standing water bowls that have been left out

  • Do not allow your dog to eat grasses or other plants that may contaminated by wild or domestic animal urine!


(Information from CDC)

What it is: Bacteria


  • Not all pets show symptoms

  • Diarrhea

  • Gas

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

How it spreads:

  • Being in contact with infected poop from another dog or cat

  • Rolling and playing in contaminated soil

  • Licking its body after contact with a contaminated surface (for example, a dirty litter box or dog cage or crate)

  • Drinking water from a contaminated creek, pond, or other body of water

How to prevent:

  • Get your dog's poop tested by your vet every 6 months!

  • Do not allow your dog to eat rabbit poop or any poop from wild animals ever! Even if it seems like it's not harmful!

  • Do not allow your dog to drink from standing water outside

  • Always remove poop from your yard or other outdoor areas by using a bag and throwing it away.

  • Change cat litterboxes daily.

  • Limit pets’ access to common outdoor spaces, such as dog parks or public trails, as much as possible if they have diarrhea or are being treated for Giardia.

  • Remove standing water (for example, empty any containers of water and remove any water from fountains that are not in use).

  • Do not use bleach or quaternary ammonium compounds in your soil or grass area, as they will not work.

  • Do not allow any new animals, especially young ones, to enter the yard or other outdoor space until advised by your veterinarian.

Lyme Disease:

(Information from AKC)

What it is: Bacteria


  • Tick bite with red rings around it

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Reduced energy

  • Lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring)

  • Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain

  • Swelling of joints

How it spreads:

  • Tick bites from infected ticks (specifically deer ticks aka black-legged ticks)

How to prevent it:

  • Inspect your dogs and yourself daily for ticks after walks through the woods or grassy settings. On dogs, look especially on the feet (and between toes), on lips, around eyes, ears (and inside ears), near the anus, and under the tail.

  • Remove ticks ASAP. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites. Learn the proper method of tick removal. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers used for this purpose. If you are unable to do so, consult with a veterinarian.

  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam. They’ll be able to find any you may have missed.

  • Prevent ticks from jumping on your dog with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick preparations available on the market. Speak to your veterinarian to find the best and most appropriate product for your dog.

  • Keep grass mowed as short as possible. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can.

  • Get your dog vaccinated. Vaccination could prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease. They may not be appropriate for some dogs, so discuss with your vet.


Sometimes it's too late to save the dog's life once symptoms arise -- Can be deadly in minutes! And there is NO cure once the dog is infected!

What it is: Bacteria


  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Blood in stool or black, tarry stool

  • Weakness

  • Pale mucous membranes

  • Jaundice

  • Seizures

  • Disorientation

  • Coma

  • Shock

  • Excessive drooling

  • Muscle tremors

  • Muscle rigidity

  • Paralysis

  • Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes

  • Difficulty breathing

How it spreads:

  • Swimming in or drinking contaminated blue-green algae - NOT ALWAYS VISIBLE TO THE EYE

How to prevent:

  • Avoid swimming in or drinking from bodies of water (rivers, lakes, streams, etc) especially in warmer weather (over 75 degrees and sunny) and NEVER when the water has blue-green coloring around the edges or all over

  • Check for toxicity levels of local water registered with the EPA (Charles River information is found here)

Be safe this summer!

Get your dog's vaccines and fecal test!

And use tick prevention!



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