What Is Dog Giardia?
Giardia is a minute, one-celled parasite. It can cause serious gastrointestinal sickness in dogs and other animals, including cats and people, when it lives in their intestines.
Dogs can contract giardia from feces-contaminated water, food, or soil. When taking care of an infected pet, you must follow proper hygiene practices, such as vigilant handwashing and decontaminating your home and other areas your dog has access to, to avoid contracting Giardia from your infected dog.
Giardia symptoms in dogs
Giardia is a condition in dogs that results in copious amounts of watery diarrhea. Giardia symptoms in dogs can also include vomiting, a lot of gas that smells bad, decreased energy, decreased appetite, and frequent desires to poop in addition to diarrhea.
It is also important to keep in mind that dogs (and other animals, for that matter) can have subclinical, or asymptomatic, Giardia in their intestines. We don’t know how frequently this occurs because healthy dogs aren’t routinely tested for giardia.
Beyond the “gross aspect” of handling poop, another reason hygiene around animal waste is so crucial is the potential for otherwise healthy canines to carry Giardia.
Giardia causes in dogs
Giardia cysts, the parasite’s outer shells that allow it to exist outside of a host and which are present everywhere in the globe, must be consumed in order to spread infection.
Dogs can become sick by ingesting contaminated feces directly or by consuming food or water that contains cysts.
Consuming excrement may not always include ingesting ground faeces. Ingestion can also occur when your dog licks the nose of another dog after sniffing their hind ends, which is the most typical greeting between dogs.
An additional source of contamination for dogs is contaminated soil and vegetation.
Dogs can catch an infection by hunting and killing contaminated prey.
How Veterinarians Recognize Dog Giardia
Your dog’s overall health and level of hydration will be assessed by your veterinarian, who will also perform a physical examination to look for signs of digestive discomfort, gas, and suspected Giardia exposure.
Your veterinarian will likely advise the following tests to look for signs of the Giardia illness, also known as Giardiasis:
a regular fecal test for intestinal parasites (many veterinarians will also send a fecal sample to the lab for further testing)
a test for the parvovirus to rule out it as a potential cause as it is deadly but avoidable
a rapid internal “snap test” or microscopy analysis
Giardia treatment for dogs
Giardia treatments are commonly available and reasonably priced. The most frequently prescribed antibiotic is metronidazole. Also commonly used to treat Giardia is fenbendazole.
Even though it can be challenging to totally eradicate a sickness from your home and prevent reinfection, the infection is frequently cleaned up after just one round of therapy.
Depending on the infection’s severity and your dog’s health, more medicine may need to be provided.
Subcutaneous fluid therapy (fluids injected beneath the skin), the administration of electrolytes, and injectable vitamins may be helpful for dehydrated dogs and puppies.
Your dog may need to be hospitalized for intravenous hydration therapy if they are moderately to severely dehydrated.
Recovery and Treatment of Dog Giardia
For dogs who have been exposed to Giardia, there is no such thing as immunity against subsequent infections. In reality, Giardia infections can easily recur in dogs who have recently recovered from them.
You must clean every living space your dog has access to because of this. Cysts can be removed with steam cleaning, diluted bleach solution, or ammonia. Pick up and discard all of your dog’s poop right away (whether your dog poops on walks or in your yard).
This parasite is difficult to get rid of because of the difficulties in maintaining and disinfecting the surroundings thoroughly. You must thoroughly clean those areas and stay away from them whenever possible because contaminated soil or interior spaces might stay infectious for months under the correct circumstances.
Please let your veterinarian know if you have any additional pets in the house so that you may decide whether to give the other animals medicine as a preventive step.
Giardia is extremely contagious, so make sure to get rechecks at the vet. It will take several negative tests before you can unwind and get some sleep.
The veterinarian will probably want additional negative Giardia tests if your household has a baby that crawls or eats objects off the floor or a person who is immunocompromised to guarantee the parasite has been eradicated.
Here are some other suggestions for managing the environment and avoiding Giardia:
Before bringing a new pet home and exposing them to your other animals, make an appointment for a stool examination and a Giardia test.
To keep your dog healthy, use a monthly heartworm preventative that also fights stomach parasites.
When not in use, keep outdoor sandboxes covered.
Maintain a routine of vet visits, and always choose to have fecal parasite tests done.
Avoid letting your dog hunt and consume rats and other small animals.