What is it?
Is a disease caused by a protozoan (single celled organism) parasite that lives in the intestinal tract.
Who is susceptible to it?
Mostly puppies and kittens, although debilitated adults can also be infected..
How does it spread?
Transmission occurs by contact with fecal material containing the organism.
Time line from exposure to signs?
What are the symptoms?
Sometimes this parasite will cause no symptoms at all. Often animals will present with diarrhea, weight loss, dehydration and decreased appetite. Severe cases can present with bloody diarrhea.
Is there a test for it?
Diagnosis is made from a microscopic examination of the feces.
How is it treated?
Treatment varies greatly. Animals showing no symptoms are not treated because the infection is often self-limiting. Pets with diarrhea are treated at home with oral medication.
Cleaning the environment?
Involves disposal of all stools and cleaning the pet’s living area. Mature eggs are resistant to most cleaning products and they can survive for months to years in the environment. However, the use of bleach and steam cleaning can be helpful.
Is there a vaccine?
Risk for humans?
Human transmission is uncommon but can occur.