Giardia in Dogs

parasites in dogs giardia

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

Gardia in dogs
Giardia is a simple one-celled parasitic species; it is not a “worm”, bacteria or virus.

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

What is the prognosis for Giardiasis?
The prognosis is good for the most part. Disabled or geriatric animals and those with inexperienced body immune systems are at increased threat for complications, consisting of death. All pets detected with Giardia should be re-tested two to 4 weeks after conclusion of treatment.

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.

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References and used sources

Reyus Mammadli

Having engineering and medical education, in recent years actively engaged in the study of the development, reproduction of domestic animals. Special attention is paid to the treatment and prevention of diseases of Pets.

Author of several hundred articles about health and healthy lifestyle. In recent years, he has been treating Pets and birds together with specialists. In their articles on shares both his knowledge and experience, and, based on reliable sources, methods of primary diagnosis of diseases in Pets and General recommendations for their possible treatment.

Of course, the articles are only informative. In each case, diagnosis and treatment should be carried out and prescribed by a qualified veterinarian.

Pet Health
Still have questions about Giardia in Dogs? Ask below and you will be answered:

  1. Paul

    Any dog that going outdoor can get it. They really take in their mouth everything that lies on the ground. To animal is not infected, it must have a strong immune system.

  2. Kira Olsen

    When our Dog had Giardia she ended up being very sluggish. (Possibly graphic description) The primary red flag for us, however, was she needed to go outside about every half hour and when she did it appeared like somebody put gravy in an extremely soaker. It was extreme.

    It was slightly amusing though when we called and explained it to our vet and she wanted us to try and get a fecal sample. It appeared like when you put your thumb over the end of the tube to make a focused stream of water. Picture attempting to capture that without getting any on you. We wound up just bringing her into the vet where they ran some tests and diagnosed her with Giardia.

    In all severity though simply watch on your young puppy. If they are acting out of character and/or having any extended symptoms (Diarrhea, throwing up, fever) than don’t think twice going to the vet or a minimum of offering a call.

  3. Ed Hope

    Something to bear in mind, a dog can be a carrier of Giardia without the normal stomach symptoms. Our dog is a carrier, which we only discovered due to the fact that the kennel reported an outbreak and asked everyone to get their dogs checked.

    Dogs who contract Giardia usually become providers. The majority of providers are asymptomatic and it is essential if your dog has diarrhea or throwing up to keep them far from other animals (cats can get it too), until they are treated and symptoms pass. In addition, do not let them do their company anywhere where another animal could sniff or lick. Disinfect those areas (1:32 dilution should suffice.) Keep strict hygiene till your pet is cleared by your vet.

    And infected municipal water products are among the most common routes of infection.

  4. To_Alabama

    Generally giardia causes mucusy and potentially bloody stools, not bloody vomit. Things that are most likely to trigger bloody vomit are ulcers in the stomach or esophagus, a bleeding injury in the stomach, esophagus, throat, nasal passages or sinuses, a malignant growth, things like that. In some cases animals will throw up so hard it breaks some blood vessels and the vomit becomes bloody too.

  5. Jackie

    Some variations of Giardia duodenalis are considered to be zoonotic, implying they can be passed from animal to human and human to animal.

    Keep good personal and animal health and be extra alert with your hand washing procedures and you should be fine (it can be spread out by means of the fecal-oral path).

    Bleach or a glutaraldehyde will likewise eliminate this organism.

  6. Jennifer Toundsen

    About thirty years ago, there was a small group in California who had done a great deal of deal with anti-oxidants and discovered(?) what appeared to be a remedy for giardiasis. I learnt about them when 3 of the 4 individuals in my family were detected with this nasty infection, which we apparently contracted from our paretic Great Dane. In retrospect, we surmised that she had actually gotten the infection while hospitalized at a veterinary mentor hospital where I ‘d moved her for innovative diagnostics. (They never ever determined what she had either). She was incapacitated in her hind end and unable to stand to defecate or urinate. In efforts to keep her clean, we hosed her off a number of times a day as she lay in her cozy spot on our back porch. We constantly were fastidious in cleaning our hands after these occasions, or at any time we managed her for any reason, however we were unaware that the nasty organisms could be aerosolized in the hose spray – the likely path of our infection

    My partner was the sickest of all of us. He had horrible diarrhea, throwing up, abdominal pain, and significant weight loss. I was the next most seriously afflicted, primarily with lower GI symptoms, and my senior child was the least affected, but plainly not scientifically normal. Once we diagnosed ourselves – with help from the parasitology department at the very same veterinary teaching medical facility where my dog had actually contracted the illness – all of us took the advised dosage of metronidazole, trade name Flagyl. My daughter and I right away responded, however my spouse continued to suffer despite the treatment. He attempted a 2nd round of the medicine, however his symptoms persisted.

    The hunt for some alternative treatment led us to work being originated by Stephen A. Levine, PhD, in the Biocurrents Division of the Allergy Research Group. I’m sad to state I can not recall the does he recommended, but the 2 treatments we utilized were grapefruit seed extract and the herb artemisia annual in mix. My husband took the advised doses of each, and his symptoms had entirely abated by the end of 30 days, the recommended duration of treatment. This prolonged treatment procedure is the disadvantage of this treatment, compared to the routine allopathic approach which is much quicker to act – when it’s efficient. Considering that our experience so long ago, a company called NutriBiotic has actually created an item, I think, with these two remedies integrated. That item might be efficient against Giardia, but to be sure, I would do a bit of research study and see if you can discover the exact dosages of each that are advised – or try to get in touch with Dr. Levine and select his brain straight. I think the Allergy Research Group has a large line of supplements themselves and may likely have the specific item you would require.

    Strangely enough, I’ve identified giardia very rarely over the years so have not had the occasion to try this combination on my own canine patients. I do know it would be safe for dogs, despite the fact that there are some herbs in the artemisia family that are poisonous. Artemisia yearly is not.

  7. Anton Smirnoff

    Giardia is an intestinal parasite that can cause GI distressed like diarrhea. It is a water based parasite, so if your dog shares a common water bowl (like at a dog park) or finds water that was in a muddy puddle or dirty bowl from where rain water was gathered, etc., then they could come in contact with stated parasite. It is quickly treated with medication and you should have a fecal tested 3 weeks after the treatment to make certain all parasites have actually been eliminated.

  8. Blade

    Thanks for the article. And yet, tell me, is giardia in puppies contagious to humans?

    1. Simon Alters

      Yes, Giardia lamblia (intestinalis) can spread to people, causing stomach cramps and diarrhea. Nevertheless, spread from dogs to human beings is fairly uncommon as most transmissions are from person to person.

    2. Weine, Vet Spec

      Yes it is. Although healthy people will fight it off within a day approximately. Young puppies and kittens are at high risk because they don’t have their immune system developed yet. Kids, those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly must not touch with puppies who have giardiasis.

  9. Lucille Perrier

    My 10-month-old puppy is constantly trying to chew grass while walking. And now he had Giardia. The doctor says to give his dog Flagyl and isolate him from the source, where he can potentially catch the infection again.

  10. Ken George, Vet

    More about meds: A number of drugs can be utilized to deal with Giardia infection. Effective treatments consist of metronidazole, tinidazole, and nitazoxanide. Alternatives to these medications consist of paromomycin, quinacrine, and furazolidone. A few of these drugs may not be routinely available in the United States.

  11. Kenneth

    Anybody have experience with giardia? How accurate is the fecal test? I’m worried about Tribble (my dog), what with her all her vomiting three weeks ago and now diarrhea. I had them test a stool sample with her throwing up which returned unfavorable, however I understand that for people, samples can be unfavorable yet giardia is still present.

    1. Jenny

      You can treat with 5 days fenbendazole, its cheap.

      Have you investigated another cause for vomiting/diarrhea? Unless there is a heavy problem, giardia does not regularly trigger vomiting. However, you are right that in some cases multiple samples are needed to catch giardia – in some cases simpler to treat anyway.

    2. Ledley

      Covered above – you don’t need to continue to test, if you believe its giardia … just treat you dog with a 5 day run of panacur.

      1. Sam Nickelholm

        With the added info of the goose droppings eating, I can see where the dog might have Giardia, at the same time having throwing up from the goose stuff. My vet in Colorado treated dogs with Giardia only when they had symptoms (bloody diarrhea, etc), because essentially all dogs were carriers there, however asymptomatic. He said he normally just treated when the owner and dog wound up with the exact same symptoms, which took place a lot, and as BLBGP said, giardia is zoonotic, so human beings getting it is very possible.

  12. Diana Flores

    My veterinarian just did a pup exam on my 9 week old bulldog and the fecal test returned with giardia. This is completely new to me so we are providing her panacur for 6 days. Anyone else ever experience this?

    I’m worried if it might spread to my 5 and 6 years of age pugs, so trying yo take care.

    Is there anything else I must be giving her. I’m using probiotics max with her food and feeding 3x’s a day.

    1. Mina Poung

      Giardia is normally water born. We had water boil adviories all the time when tanks were contaminated by a dead animal falling in PA. Likewise check your soil.

    2. Linda Iverness

      Yes, sadly, I have had experience with giardia with my 2 puppies. I am so happy to hear that your veterinarian advised panacur for six days. Ideally that will take care of it. Mine kept recommending metronidazole which did not eliminate it. Finally after using panacur and some natural holistic treatments we finally got it. It is contagious, so attempt to keep your pup far from the others as much as possible. Most notably pickup the poop ASAP. Tidy the poop spots with hot bleach water if you can.

      A few of the holistic products that I utilized that I think finally rid them of it are: garlic, probiotics, DE, pumpkin seeds and high fiber foods such as shredded carrots. I need to find my notes to offer you more information and some links for you to take a look at. A good site to check out would be the dogs naturally magazine site. They have a search bar that is handy. I need to get to bed, however I’ll get my notes out to hopefully get you more details tomorrow. I think fresh garlic would be a fantastic thing to include 3 to 4 days a week right now if you are comfy with it. You need to crush or chop it to release the allicin and let it sit for about 10 minutes first.

    3. Nicole Appaiah

      I am pleased your veterinarian is attempting panacur first as a first line defense. Most veterinarians simply indiscriminately offer metronidazole first which I would think about a dangerous antibiotic, not very reliable versus giardia anyway, and can trigger lots of other issues. Or lots of often regretfully recommend city as a “capture all” for almost any digestion conditions. Giardia is not a bacteria, it’s a parasitic protozoan. And numerous vets don’t even know about using panacur for giardia, since giardia is not a worm either.

      Panacur is a reasonably very safe OTC intestinal tract dewormer that just so occurs to also be the most reliable thing for giardia, I think. It’s an “off label” use of panacur for giardia.

      Your vet is right, it can be difficult to eliminate giardia, and can also be very challenging to discover in feces, as the giardia do not constantly shed cysts in feces. The giardia rotates in between an actively swimming trophozoite and an infective, resistant cyst.

      If I were you, I wouldn’t mess around with it, i would go ahead and provide your pup a 2nd round of panacur for 4 to 5 days, 10 to 14 days after the first round, even if your pup is no longer showing any symptoms. It can burrow into the intestinal mucosol lining and encyst, waiting for opportune times to again cause issues.

      Some dogs can beat giardia or keep in check very quickly, others can not, more severe cases can end up with serious damage to the digestive villi, mucosal lining, and other digestive tract damage.

    4. Okra Cramers

      We had our own duplicated horrible and pricey experience with giardia and our previous dog about 10 years ago. I lastly took matters into my hands, investigated and “found” panacur, as the vets never ever once even suggested it to us. It was what finally worked for Jack.

  13. Carlile

    My dog had Giardia likewise, when I adopted her. She needed to go thru 2 rounds of metronidazole and panacur before we eliminated it. It prevails, so absolutely nothing really to stress over.

  14. Samantha Jackson

    Our lovely Tilly has been detected with giardia:-LRB-:-LRB- I should stop reading the web as it freaking me out.

    It all started last weekend, 8/9th December when she was off her food a bit and had some diarrhoea and on the 9th she likewise vomited and wasn; t interested in eating at all that night or drinking. We had actually been offering her chicken and rice over the weekend however got a consultation on the Monday 10th early morning (a week today) and she got an anti sickness injection, some gut plants paste, electrolyte powder to put in water and omperazole and Hills Science ID dog food too. The vomiting stopped and her appetite gradually returned once again however her poos were still loose and a few were rather watery so saw the vet again on Thursday 13th, she decided to do test a poo sample which we had the ability to offer her on that day and the outcomes came back the next day and that’s when we were informed she had giardia … She has actually been given Panacur for 5 days, last dosage on Wednesday. Her poos are firming up, some absolutely normal hooray and some still soft and her hunger is back to normal now which are soo pleased about. In herslef she is fantastic, full of beans and happy!!

    The vet has recommended she has no contact with any other dogs until her poo sample is clear … so we’ve been keeping her far from groups of dogs, soo hard as she is soo friendly and loves absolutely nothing more than a romp about with her poochie buddies, she hasn’t attended her training class and is strolling on lead in the park … but could she reinfect herself out there if there was a little poo that she licked? Although she does not actually do this, however it appears as if it is out there all over! Seems as if more dogs would be getting this … Reading about it great deals of dogs do have it and are symptomless and pups are vulnerable of selecting it up. We just do not know where she might have chosen this up … my only though is that it was on the Thursday 6th as I went down to a river, where she has actually only been once before and have actually because read it can be found in water sources … am kicking myself that I took her there, it’s a favourite place for dog strolling however I now wish I had actually never ever taken there. Is it possible it could have taken hold that rapidly?

    The small issue is that with it being Christmas we are/were intending on heading south with our baby stopping in on family en route and spending the festive season with our family down in the south of England and then Tilly can fulfill them all … we are now wondering if this is such a good idea … especially if her sample returns favorable again. all in a quandry about what to do:-LRB-:-LRB- possibly we need to remain closer to home and our veterinarian … what would you do??

    Any of you lovely individuals had experience of this and how long it lasted … today a girl informed me her dog had it for 6 months … which was simply terrible to hear … thanks for any insight or details.

    1. Shola Nappins

      Hello there – I have lots of experience with giardia …;-RRB-. It is exceptionally common, so please don’t overreact and massively change Xmas plans or exceedingly separate her. In one research study, something like a 3rd of all dogs with no symptoms tested favorable for giardia so it is reasoned that numerous dogs are providers of it, without it impacting them at all. It probably affects pups more than older dogs with a well-established body immune system and microbiome.

      For the above reasons, I think it’s overkill to prevent your training classes and all other dogs – they are going to be exposed to it just by walking in a public place where other dogs have actually pooped. (Although to be truthful at 16 wks I ‘d be trying to prevent other dogs anyway, for play, since you ought to be switching from socialisation to training her to concentrate on you in the existence of other dogs and not permitting excessive rough play by this age anyhow.).

      Giardia is transmitted through poop, not through saliva or pee – and presumably at 16wks she’s not going to poop in class anyhow.

      Second of all, meds: It’s terrific if she will respond to the Panacur 10%. Not all giardia cases do, and when they don’t, then things have to be stepped up to metronidazole (an antibiotic). Often even the metronidazole does not work and there has to be a double-barrelled method of both metronidazole and Panacur 10%, either at the exact same time or a course of one and after that a course of the other.

      As an outcome, there is absolutely nothing incorrect with extending the course of the Panacur beyond 5 days (ie 7 days), particularly if you’re a bit anxious that the poops are not normal yet. (The data sheet that comes with it in fact suggests 3 days for giardia, so your vet is currently being very sensible and encompassing 5 days.). And as Panacur is non-prescription, you can get some additional yourself to take with you for Xmas in case you require it and vets are closed. Sometimes the poops won’t return to totally normal until you stop the Panacur though – the Panacur itself can impact the gut somewhat and cause soft poos.

    2. Brian G

      I have had some experience with this runny stool just recently and it’s no fun. I had to get up in the middle of the night continuously for a week approximately. I’m grateful it stopped. I took Shola’s advice with the pumpkin powder and my dog has actually responded well to it. Simply ensure to finish the Metronidazole treatment, like Shola said. I made the mistake of not finishing the treatment when and the runny stools returned. But in my limited experience with Metronidazole, I’ve seen it does work immediately with hardening the stool. You simply have to end up the treatment to eliminate the virus. Best of luck.

  15. Mary Hill

    I have a 5 month old Maltese puppy. She has had Guardia for the past 3 months. She was on pancur I think, or maybe it was the other medicine that starts with an M for about 6 weeks which did nothing, and now on fenbendazole for about 2 months but she can’t get rid of the giardia. Can you please help me?

    1. Reyus Mammadli author

      You should show your puppy to the vet again and tell them about your pet’s issue.