Could Your Puppy Have Giardia?

What is it and do I need to be concerned?

What is Giardia?

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection in people and animals. It is caused by a protozoan parasite Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia). Most 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 ingested.

Symptoms of Giardia in Dogs Include:

  • Diarrhea, which can be mild or explosive.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Diminished appetite.
  • Gas.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Foul-smelling stool.

If your puppy has diarrhea it could be Giardia and therefore contagious to our other puppies. Therefore please do not bring him in to the Hound House. The best thing to do is to call your vet and request a fecal test to confirm it’s cause. You may return to the Hound House after your have completed the treatment. And of course if you have any questions give us a call anytime!

My Puppy Has Giardia – What Now?

We’ve gathered some information for you here so you can better understand what Giardia is, where your puppy or dog might contract it, and how it is treated.

Giardia is one of those things that is hard to test for and even harder to pinpoint where the dog contracted it, especially if you go to parks or other common areas where dogs gather such as dog parks. Giardia is a waterborne protozoa which means your dog could get it from any standing water, even in your own front yard. It can also be contracted from bird or dog feces (either sniffing closely or eating). The incubation period after exposure is typically 10 to 12 days.

Here are two good articles on Giardia:
First Article

Second Article 

Medications Used to Treat Giardia

Metronidazole

Metronidazole is a synthetic antibacterial and antiprotazoal agent used in treating giardiasis, trichomoniasis, amoebiasis, balantidiasis and trypanosomiasis. It is commonly prescribed for puppies with Giardia although depending on the type of Giardia your puppy has you might have to use it more than once to completely eradicate it.

Panacur

Panacur is frequently used alongside Metronidazole and is effective for the treatment of many intestinal infections in dogs. Fenbendazole, the active ingredient in Panacur, is useful against the most common intestinal worms including whipworms, hookworms, roundworms and
tapeworms.

Here is an article about Panacur.

Giardia in Dogs, Cats and People

Zoonotic Diseases in Dogs

Zoonotic disease or zoonoses are terms used to describe an infection or disease that can be transmitted from an animal to a human being. Here is a good article on Zoonotic diseases that contains a list of illnesses we can catch from dogs.

Note: When this site comes up simply type “Zoonotic Diseases in Dogs” in the search frame.

Going Forward….

Our recommendation is that you test your puppy every 6 months and keep his water and food bowls clean. For our part we will continue to sanitize the Hound House nightly, pick up feces the moment they appear, and provide separate water and food dishes to avoid cross contamination.

What we can all do is pick up after our dogs and watch them closely. Do not allow your puppy to eat poop (from any animal) or drink from standing water or puddles.