Giardia is a protozoan parasite that can contaminate the gastrointestinal tract of dogs and is capable of causing diarrhea, vomiting, weight-loss and sleepiness — although many infected animals reveal no signs at all. It prevails throughout the United States and can cause infections at practically at any time of year. Unlike lots of other infectious organisms, giardia persists longer in the environment when conditions are cool and damp.
Causes of Giardia in Dogs
How do dogs get giardiasis? A dog ends up being infected with Giardia when it swallows the cyst stage of the parasite. In vulnerable dogs, once the cyst passes into the dog’s intestines, it goes through a change to the trophozoite, or feeding type, and attaches to the digestive tract wall to feed. If enough numbers are present, clinical signs of damage to the digestive wall will develop.
Trophozoites reproduce by dividing, and some change into the cystic form. Eventually, the dog passes infectious cysts in its stool. The time it draws from ingestion of cysts to passage in feces is 5 to 12 days in dogs and 5 to 16 days in felines.
- ” Giardiasis can be transmitted by eating or smelling the cysts from contaminated ground,
- or by drinking polluted water.”
These cysts are instantly able to contaminate another animal. Giardiasis can be transmitted by eating or sniffing the cysts from contaminated ground, or by drinking contaminated water.
When Giardia cysts are discovered in the stool of a healthy adult dog without diarrhea, they are generally considered a transient, insignificant finding. However, in pups and debilitated adult dogs, they might trigger severe, watery diarrhea that might be deadly if left neglected.
The probability of establishing disease boosts when great deals of cysts exist in the environment from fecal contamination. Giardiasis is a common incident in environments that are densely populated, such as kennels, pet shops, or animal shelters.
Many dogs become infected by drinking water contaminated with feces. Giardia then infects the small intestine, and infected dogs pass microscopic cysts in their stool. These cysts can then infect another animal or person if consumed. Giardia cysts are extremely resistant in the environment, and can live for numerous months under the right circumstances. These cysts are a risk to pet health, and giardia is a very common cause of pet diarrhea in the United States.
- All dogs – even those on year-round parasite preventives and those without diarrhea — must have at least one to two fecal samples carried out yearly as part of their wellness examination to screen for intestinal parasites, including giardia.
- All dogs with symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea ought to be evaluated for giardia and other intestinal parasites.
- All newly adopted dogs should be evaluated for these parasites prior to they are introduced to a brand-new home, and all dogs returning from high-risk environments (e.g., kennels, dog programs, boarding centers, etc.) need to be checked.
Poop and Giardia in Dogs
Giardia has to be ingested by your dog in order for him to get the parasite. Your dog can get Giardia by drinking water that has actually been contaminated by feces or by eating something that has actually been polluted by feces, like grass. Considering that dogs like to put things in their mouths, this indicates that there are a lot of ways your dog can get the parasite in his environment, whether it is by chewing on a stick, consuming poop, or drinking from a puddle.
Symptoms of Giardia in Dogs
Symptoms are more noticeable in more youthful animals than in older animals and can be either abrupt (severe), temporary (transient), non-continuous (intermittent), or ongoing (chronic) in nature. In some cases, dogs will display diarrhea that is soft, frothy, oily, and with a strong, horrible smell or extreme mucus.
How to Test for Giardia in Dogs
There is no ideal test for giardia. Giardia is an evasive parasite, and cysts are shed just periodically from the intestinal tract of an infected dog. A single fecal sample has just a 70 percent chance of spotting an infection. Performing 3 fecal samples within five consecutive days increases the chance of detection to greater than 90 percent. There are other tests such as the giardia ELISA that can be used with a regular fecal sample to increase the possibility of a diagnosis to about 95 percent.
Treating Giardia in Dogs
If your dog is identified with giardia, he will likely be recommended medication, and your vet will recommend a follow-up fecal sample two weeks after treatment.
A dog needs to be bathed on his last day of treatment to eliminate all giardia cysts from his hair coat. Using gloves, you must shower and rinse his entire body as typical and then focus last on his hind end. Do not touch the rest of his body after you have bathed and rinsed around the rectum.
This will remove spreading any staying giardia cysts around his hair coat. Dog bowls, toys, etc., need to be sanitized in either boiling water or in a high-temperature dishwashing machine. Upholstery and carpeting must be steam-cleaned and permitted to dry. Hard surfaces can be disinfected with a water down bleach option (3/4 cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water) or a sanitizing family cleaning item.
Medications that Works Against Giardia
The most typical drugs prescribed by vet to fight and kill Giardia are fenbendazole and metronidazole. These drugs are typically provided for three to 10 days to deal with giardiasis. Both drugs might be given up mix if essential.
How to Prevent a Recurrent Giardia
Lots of dogs become reinfected with giardia as soon as treatment is finished due to the fact that their environment remains polluted. Following are pointers for preventing giardia reinfection in your dog:
- Allow your pet to defecate just on cement surface areas or surfaces that can be sanitized with previously mentioned options or items. Dirt and grass areas can harbor big quantities of giardia for months. When treated dogs return to these environments, they can become reinfected and begin shedding giardia cysts within five to 7 days.
- Pick up all feces instantly and sanitize surfaces daily. If you walk your dog, carry a spray bottle of water down bleach solution to easily sanitize surfaces.
- Limitation your dog’s exposure to high-risk environments where giardia could quickly be spread, such as dog parks, kennels, dog day-care facilities, groomers, and so on.
- Test and perhaps treat other dogs and cats in the household for giardia. Although dogs and felines are usually affected by various types of giardia, they can share infections, and felines can work as a source of reinfection for household dogs.
- Do not permit your dog to drink from common water bowls at family pet stores or in public places.
Do not allow your dog to drink from puddles, lakes, ponds, rivers or streams, which might be infected with feces from other animals.
- Do not allow your dog to eat his own feces or the feces or other animals.
What to Do with Chronic Giardia Infection
It can be irritating if a dog continues to test positive for giardia after treatment. The giardia ELISA test can stay favorable for weeks to months following effective giardia treatment– so a positive test does not necessarily mean active infection. However, if giardia cysts are present in your dog’s fecal sample, active infection exists and you should redouble your efforts to restrict your dog’s direct exposure to giardia and decontaminate your environment.
If extra treatments are unable to eliminate giardia infection in your dog, your vet might suggest a more comprehensive medical examination for your animal. Evaluating can also be carried out to identify if the giardia contaminating your dog is zoonotic — suggesting an organism that can likewise sicken people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has detailed information available on giardia and how to avoid infection in people. The risk of infection is little because the type of giardia that impacts humans is not generally the exact same one that impacts dogs and cats, but it is good to be notified.
What is the Prognosis for Giardiasis?
The prognosis is good for the most part. Incapacitated or geriatric animals and those with inexperienced body immune systems are at increased danger for complications, including death. All dogs detected with Giardia must be re-tested two to four weeks after completion of treatment.
Giardia in Dogs FAQ
Is Giardia Life Threatening?
Giardia is usually not considered dangerous except for in very young puppies and kittens and old dogs and felines. However, if any pet becomes badly dehydrated it can also become dangerous.
Can I Get Giardia?
People can undoubtedly harbor the Giardia organisms in their intestines, however according to our veterinarian, many cases are spread human to human with few pet to human transmissions.
Is It Dangerous?
To a degree, giardia threatens for your dog. Any abrupt weight-loss should be a cause for issue. Especially, if your dog has a suppressed immune system. The parasite can even cause death if untreated, though that is rather uncommon. Most of the times, your dog will just have diarrhea and/or vomiting. This may cause dehydration. You will still require to make sure that you contact your veterinarian and get the suitable treatment plan.
Who’s at Risk?
Any dog can get giardia from water or food that has actually been infected. Young puppies and older dogs or dogs with weak immune systems are more at risk than others. For dogs like this, you need to take extra care.
You likewise require to be mindful that if your dog has giardia, it can spread to another pet in your house. While cross-species infections are unusual they can take place. That’s why you need to be careful when handling your dog’s feces and wash your hands completely.
Can Dogs Become Immune to Giardia?
No, to vaccinate your dog the advance of the disease impossible. You can only take the measures described above to reduce the chances of occurrence of this disease in your dog.