by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Plan to attend Yappy Hour, a series of three fun events focused on the well-being of pets and their owners.

West Linn Healthy Pet and VCA West Linn Animal Hospital have joined the West Linn Parks and Recreation department to offer a three-part event for the fun and well-being of West Linn pets and their owners.

Yappy Hour will be held at the Mary S. Young Dog Park on Thursdays, March 20, April 17 and May 15. This social event starts at 4:30 p.m. and will include generous product samples and an educational period. VCA medical director Dr. Laura Erbach and certified veterinary technician Chad Rodgers will be onsite March 20 to lead the education session on the highly contagious giardia parasite.

For those unable to attend, the following is provided by Erbach.

Giardia is not a worm, it is a one-celled protozoan parasite that causes diarrhea in animals and humans.

Signs: Giardia can cause diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting and weight loss. However, many dogs infected with and shedding giardia, do not have any signs of illness.

Transmission: Giardia cysts are shed in the feces. It is a hardy parasite that can survive for several months in the environment, particularly in water or damp areas. Your dog can get giardia by eating or sniffing these microscopic cysts from the contaminated ground or by drinking contaminated water.

Diagnosis: Giardia is diagnosed by looking for the cysts on microscopic examination of the feces. The cysts can be shed intermittently; therefore, an ELISA test should also be performed. The ELISA test looks for specific proteins the body makes in response to giardia infections.

Treatment and Prevention: Giardia is treated with a combination of Metronidazole, an antibiotic, and Fenbendazole, a dewormer. Most dogs are treated for five to seven days. A fecal should be rechecked three weeks after completing the treatment to ensure the infection has resolved. Some dogs require more lengthy treatments or different medications in order to clear the infection.

It is important to pick up all feces immediately to prevent contamination of the environment. Giardia cysts can be killed by a diluted bleach solution. Giardia cysts can stick to the fur so infected pets should be bathed during treatment.

Protect yourself and your pet: Most people become infected with giardia by drinking contaminated water, but some strains of giardia can be passed from pets to people. Always practice good hygiene: Wash your hands. Do not let your pet lick you or your child’s face. Pick up all feces and dispose of it properly to prevent environmental contamination and potential infection of other dogs or people.

Don’t miss the annual St. Patrick’s Day Dance held March 14 at the Adult Community Center on Friday, 1180 Rosemont Road. These social dances are programmed for young adults with diagnosis of a physical or cognitive disability. The dance starts at 7 p.m. with a $5 per person admission fee.

For other offerings through parks and recreation you can view detailed information at

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