What are the symptoms and treatments for Giardia?


Giardia is a microscopical parasite, which was found in the small intestine of cats, dogs and other animals. When a dog is being infected by Giardia, then the condition is known as “Giardiasis”. It is a disease associated with contaminated water, food, and the places with poor sanitation. This parasite has the ability to infect the intestine, which leads to health problems such as diarrhea, bloating, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting etc. In many cases, it seems to be an acute illness. Hence, if your dog is treated in time, it can be easily cured.

Dogs could contract Giardia, if it eats the cyst of the parasite; that occurs, after smelling or it is around another animal’s feces or urine. Once the parasite got into the small intestine, they live as an active trophozoite, then the process is called “Excystation”. These trophozoites locomote with the help of their small hair-like structures, which is present on their body. Hence, they will travel into the small intestine and attach in the intestinal epithelium, in order to reproduce, by “binary fission” which means just by splitting into two protozoans.

These parasites will continue to reproduce, until they form a wall around itself; eventually they will also get passed through the feces. So, when an infected animal leave its feces on the ground, they can further contaminate the surrounding area, other animals, water, soil and sometimes it could possibly infect other people.

Symptoms of Giardia in Dogs

Identifying the symptoms of giardia can be difficult, because a dog could become a host for this parasite, even without becoming sick. Hence, it could be very hard to recognize. In case if a dog becomes sick with Giardiasis, then it will experience, diarrhea as a main symptom. The existing symptom might be acute or chronic or intermittent. Though there are some of symptoms, yet, you can find your dog wandering in a normal condition such as; in eating, playing and other activities, but he may begin to lose weight; and that can be an indicator for the presence of this parasite, on their body.

And another symptom that also includes, visible clumpy appearance of parasites found in their feces. They will be typically very pale, with unusually bad smell and greasy in appearance.

Apart from diarrhea, Giardia will also leads to other digestion problems. They also involved in the inhibition of proper nutrients from the food that the dog eats. Hence, your dog’s health could be on the down side. Moreover, they can also cause damage, to the wall of the small intestine, where they are attached to it. This typical condition will be seen, only in the severe cases of dogs, which have been affected with chronic infection of giardia.

Transmission of Giardia

Dogs could transmit giardia to other dogs, as well as to other wild animals but, it is not known, whether they pass this disease to humans or not. But it is believed that, humans are infected by this giardia, only if they happen to drink the giardia contaminated water, due to an improper sewage system. Hence, humans contract the parasite from another giardia infected human.

Moreover, recent researches doesn’t have any evidence to determine, whether a dog could pass a giardia infection to the humans or not. Since, there were many unknown species existing.

Diagnosing Giardia

This disease is very difficult to diagnose, because, the parasite is not always noticeable in stools of dogs.
Hence, veterinarians will often perform a series of tests, for atleast three consecutive days, for the presence of giardia. Meanwhile, they also diagnose for other infectious causes. However, in certain cases, giardia cannot be identified, because, sometimes they will never show up in the clinical results, even though the vet suspects for giardia. Hence, there will be a rise in difficulty, to find out the giardia infection in dogs. However, medication will be provided to eliminate this condition.

Treatment for Giardia in Dogs

Giardia infection will be curable; but in situations such as where there is no occurrence of this parasite, found in the medical examination, it would pose a problem for vets, since, they are unable to diagnose. However, doctors would provide the necessary treatment, with regard to the clinical symptoms of giardia, since the dog may exhibit the relative symptoms of giardia. So, many vets will treat the dogs in suspicion, for the sake of being safe.

How to prevent Giardia

Considering the fact, that only little known about this microscopic organism and it is in diseased condition, the prevention of giardia is significantly important. So, here are some of the best prevention steps to take.

You have to be aware of the areas, where the contamination exists, while taking your dog out to the park; or on the lawn; or keeping them in a dog kennel. Because those are the places where the animal faecal matter will be discharged and would develop into a prime source of contracting this organism.
Moreover, always keep your dog’s foods; water bowls; kennels; and place where dog resides should be kept clean, at all times; meanwhile, take extra care in your personal hygiene, especially after handling your dog or their feces.

It may be frustrating thing for a dog owner, since this giardia infection sometimes would be difficult to diagnose. Hence, it is wise to prevent at any circumstances. Therefore, always keep a vigilant eye on your pet to prevent him from this giardia infection. Even though, your pet got this infection, take him immediately to the vet, for immediate and proper treatment, thereby you could reduce the infection quickly and for further subsequent elimination.

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