Canine Care Guides

Fructosamine Testing

Fructosamine testing involves checking the level of fructosamine in the blood, and this testing is one of the ways a diabetic pet is monitored. Fructosamine is a protein that binds very strongly to glucose (sugar) in the blood. Because fructosamine occurs in proportion to blood glucose, it can provide an accurate estimate of the amount of glucose in the blood. When fructosamine is measured, it helps determine the average glucose level for the previous 2 to 3 weeks.

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Fungal Culture

A fungal culture test is a method of identifying a specific fungus that is infecting an animal. Fungal infections are relatively common in cats and dogs and include conditions such as ringworm. Ringworm can cause hair loss, itching, and a skin rash, but in most cases it is treatable and not life threatening. However, there are other fungal infections that can cause serious illness (such as pneumonia) and death in cats and dogs.

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Gastrointestinal Parasites in Dogs

Gastrointestinal (GI) parasites include any parasites that live in the stomach or intestines of a host. A variety of GI parasites affect dogs. They range from roundworms and tapeworms, which are visible with the naked eye, to microscopic organisms like coccidia and Giardia. Regardless of their size, GI parasites can cause serious illness in dogs and sometimes even death. Some parasites are even zoonotic, which means that humans can become infected.

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Getting Your Dog Back on Its Feet

The most effective way to treat lameness is to obtain an accurate diagnosis of what is wrong. If your dog is limping, don’t try to guess what the problem is or wait to see if it gets better on its own. A veterinarian can evaluate your dog by a thorough physical examination; if necessary, laboratory tests can be performed and/or radiographs (x-rays) obtained. Lameness can be caused by many things—infections (e.g., Lyme disease), stress fractures, soft tissue injuries, and arthritis, to name a few. Paying attention to signs that your dog is uncomfortable and having your dog evaluated quickly can help prevent smaller problems from becoming bigger ones.

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Giardiasis

Giardiasis is a diarrheal disease that can affect many species, including dogs, cats, and humans. It is caused by Giardia, a single-celled parasite that attacks the gastrointestinal tract of infected animals. Among experts, there is some question about (1) the number of Giardia subtypes that can cause disease in animals and (2) the potential of these subtypes to also infect humans. While humans are susceptible to infection with Giardia, infection by the same subtypes prevalent in animals is thought to be exceedingly rare but remains a point of controversy and investigation.

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