Health Symptoms & Solutions Giardia In Dogs: All The Facts You Need To Know

Giardia In Dogs: All The Facts You Need To Know

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Owning a dog means looking after it in good times and bad. This can be more complicated than it sounds, dogs do not generally speak, meaning you need to calculate what is availing them yourself.

Naturally, your vet will offer assistance in diagnosing illness and administering care. However, acquisition of knowledge of symptoms and potential illnesses facilitates your knowledge regarding when your dog requires urgent help or of convening a standard appointment will do.

You potentially have heard of Giardia in dogs, although rarely fatal complications arise if left untreated inclusive of potentially life-threatening consequences, especially in puppies and debilitated dogs.

Symptoms of Giardia In Dogs

Giardia in dogs is caused by a microscopic celled parasite. The most obvious sign of an infected animal is weight loss. But, inspection of dog feces is important before being diagnosed with Giardia.

Dogs infected with Giardia will have the parasites attached to the dog’s intestines. Diarrhea will occur virtually as soon as the Giardia infection takes hold of the small intestine. The consequence will be foul-smelling liquid feces.

The diarrhea will be intermittent but severe, solid stools that are passed will be fatty and may have a greenish tinge as a result of excess mucus. You may even locate small spots of blood.

Other recognizable symptoms include vomiting, although this does not occur in every instance and dramatic weight loss.

Within a few weeks, your dog will have lost a substantial amount of weight. Their immune system will be compromised and they will be at greater risk of contracting other diseases.

Are these not all the symtoms you are experiencing? Might it be worms instead? Read in this link about how you can check for worms. 

How Giardia Is Contracted

Giardia bacteria inside your dog will multiply and some will transform into Giardia cyst form. Other animals consume the infected stools, spreading the disease, causing more infected dogs.

In fact, this is the most common way of dogs and cats contracting Giardia, from infected feces. It is also possible to contract this illness from contaminated drinking water. It takes between 5-16 days from cyst ingestion to ejection of infected feces.

Transmission between animals is increasingly likely in densely populated areas. This potentially creates a vicious circle and seriously affects the health of all concerned.

It is possible that humans will contract the illness, if you are in the presence of infected animals you need to utilize boiling water for drinking and cooking, it will also be essential and beneficial to wash your hands thoroughly and often.

Diagnosing Giardia

Upon identification of potential symptoms, you will need to visit your vet and take a stool sample with you. When this infection is suspected the veterinarian will analyze the sample for Giardia antigens.

It is worth noting that routine fecal flotation tests are not generally sufficient for the detection of the microscopic particles. The use of a specialized zinc sulfate flotation test will be necessary.

Dealing With Giardia In Dogs

White long coated small dog on white and black textile. Part of the "Giardia In Dogs: All The Facts You Need To Know" article.
Photo by Kim Becker on Unsplash

In the first instance, you will want to ensure your dog is comfortable. Purchasing a new dog bed is an established method of achieving the desired result and reminding them that they are loved.

Purchasing an array of cleaning supplies may also assist with dealing with diarrhea, including a litter matt or dog litter tray which may be a useful addition.

Your vet will probably prescribe fenbendazole and metronidazole. The course of treatment will last between three and ten days, depending on the vet’s findings and how your dog is presenting. During this period your dog should show signs of improvement.

The Importance of rehydration

Potentially more important during this period is the rehydration of your dog while addressing the diarrhea. The vet will almost certainly recommend a low residue and highly digestible diet to facilitate the solidifying of your dog’s stool.

This also encourages the repair of the intestinal wall.

You can use other drugs to facilitate this process. Your vet will inform you of the best course of action. Further tests will be likely during the treatment period to assess recovery and adjust medication if necessary.

During this period you will be recommended to use quaternary ammonium compounds, such as disinfectants on all surfaces in your home and make sure your hands are washed regularly and wear gloves. Pay particular attention to the interaction of any children with your dog.

You should arrange for a further Giardia test between two and four weeks after the medication has finished. It’s then possible to check the problem has been beaten.

With your assistance, your dog will then need to put weight back on and return to full health. Although dogs generally recover very quickly from illness, the severity of this illness and the age of your dog can lengthen the recovery time.

Personal Care

It’s important to take general precautions regarding hygiene while dealing with your poorly dog. However, it’s not just the risk of infection that you should be concerned with. Dealing with a sick dog can be very stressful, you need to take steps to minimize that stress.

If you don’t there is a good possibility that you’ll also end up ill, even if it’s not Giardia. Enlist the support of friends and family to monitor your dog and give you a break. This will help you stay healthy as your dog recovers.

What To Do If You Suspect Giardia

The first sign of Giardia in dogs is likely to be when your dog starts to lose weight. Occasional diarrhea or loose stools is something that all dog owners expect periodically.

Assessment of stools should be conducted as soon as weight loss is noticed and your dog is still consuming food normally. Registering your concerns at this time is essential to get your dog seen. The earlier an appointment the faster and easier the recovery process.

Final Infection

All dog owners worry about their pets and ensuring they have the best possible care, regardless of the issue. Giardia in dogs is potentially serious but completely treatable. Being aware of the symptoms means you can react quickly and confidently when the problem arises, ensuring your dog has the best possible care and reduced recovery time.

Just remember that the feces carry the infection. If you have any other animals you will need to keep them away from your dog and its stools. Failing to do so could result in more illness and a complicated regime involving separating animals while administering an array of treatments.

Simple steps will render this unnecessary, preventing giardia, and making your life simpler. It is stressful enough dealing with a sick dog.


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