Giardia In Dogs: How To Get Rid Of It Naturally
If your dogs digestive system has been acting strange, there could be many reasons.
One possibility to consider is that he may have giardia, or giardiasis.
In case youre unfamiliar with giardia its a parasite. That means it feeds off other living organisms to survive. Once inside your dog, giardia calls your pets intestines home and creates an infection.
This leads to weakening of your dogs small intestine. It starts to have trouble absorbing water, electrolytes, and nutrients. This can cause malabsorptive diarrhea leading to difficulty in gaining weight or keeping it on.
Your vet may want to prescribe medication for treatment. But drugs can cause avoidable and unnecessary side effects. So, you may be wondering: Can dogs recover from giardia without medication?
The answer is yes.
Heres what you need to know about giardia in dogs
- How your pup can become a host for this microscopic parasite.
- How you can test your dog for giardia.
- Why you should avoid treating your dog with prescription medications.
- Four natural remedies you can use instead.
How Do I Reduce The Amount Of Giardia In My Yard Or Outdoor Environment
Giardia is hard to eliminate from the environment, but there are things you can do to lower the chances of your pet getting sick again, and to help you and your family stay healthy:
- Always remove poop from your yard or other outdoor areas by using a bag and throwing it away.
- Change cat litterboxes daily.
- Limit pets access to common outdoor spaces, such as dog parks or public trails, as much as possible if they have diarrhea or are being treated for Giardia.
- Remove standing water .
- Do not use bleach or quaternary ammonium compounds in your soil or grass area, as they will not work.
- Do not allow any new animals, especially young ones, to enter the yard or other outdoor space until advised by your veterinarian.
How To Prevent Giardia In Dogs
Giardia is transmitted via the fecal-oral route, so good hygiene is essential to prevent giardia in dogs. Dogs should not be allowed to drink from contaminated water sources and should be kept away from areas where other animals have defecated.
Feces should be picked up promptly after dogs have defecated and should be disposed of in appropriate waste containers. Infected dogs should also be bathed to remove giardia cysts from the coat and paws, where normal self-grooming behavior can cause them to be ingested, leading to re-infection.
Giardia cysts are able to live in the environment outside the host for several months. However, they are susceptible to most common disinfectants as well as to boiling, steam, and desiccation.
Surfaces, food and water bowls, toys, and other materials used by an infected dog should be cleaned thoroughly to reduce the risk of transmission, particularly in kennel or shelter environments where transmission risk is high.
Items contaminated with fecal material should first be washed to removal all organic matter, then disinfected according to the manufacturers instructions.
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How Often And For How Long Should I Clean And Disinfect My Home After My Dog Or Cat Is Diagnosed With Giardia Infection
- Clean and disinfect potentially contaminated items regularly for as long as your pet is sick.
- If your pet is taking medication, clean and disinfect potentially contaminated items frequently until a few days after the last dose of medication is given.
- Giardia survival depends on many factors, so we recommend that you consult your veterinarian for further advice.
Control Of Giardiasis In Animals
Giardia cysts are immediately infective when passed in the feces and survive well in the environment, particularly in damp and cool conditions in which cysts may stay infective for months. Cysts are a source of infection and reinfection for animals, particularly those in crowded conditions . Thus, control should include removing feces as soon as possible and disposing of potentially infectious waste. Infected dogs and cats should be bathed to remove cysts from the hair coat, and use of a shampoo containing chlorhexidine digluconate has been recommended. Prompt and frequent removal of feces limits environmental contamination, as does subsequent disinfection. Cysts are inactivated by most quaternary ammonium compounds, steam, and boiling water.
Although no disinfectants are registered to kill Giardia cysts, regular frequent washing and drying of blankets, bedding, and food and water containers, along with other normal good hygiene practices, can limit transmission to other hosts and reinfection after recovery. Isolating of diarrheic pets or diagnosed carriers will also limit transmission.
To increase the efficacy of disinfectants, solutions should be left for 520 minutes before being rinsed off contaminated surfaces. Disinfection of grass yards or runs is impossible, and these areas should be considered contaminated for at least a month after infected dogs were last present. Cysts are susceptible to desiccation, and areas should be allowed to dry thoroughly after cleaning.
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Cycle And Transmission Of Giardiasis In Animals
The life cycle of Giardia is relatively simple. The flagellate, vegetative stage of Giardia inhabit the lumen of the small intestine, where they may attach to the brush border of epithelial cells via the ventral disk, absorb nutrients, and multiply by binary fission. There are no intracellular stages. The trophozoites usually live in the proximal portion of the small intestine and migrate down the intestine during the course of infection, encysting in the small or large intestine. The prepatent period is generally 310 days.
The cysts are passed in the feces and are immediately infectious. Cyst shedding may be continual over several days and weeks but is often intermittent, especially in the chronic phase of infection. The cyst is the infective stage and can survive for several weeks, or even months, in an appropriate environment. Although trophozoites may be passed in the feces, especially during bouts of severe diarrhea, they do not survive for long in the environment and, if ingested, they are not able to infect a new host.
Can I Give My Dog Metronidazole
The good news is that Metronidazole is safe for dogs, easy to use, and readily available. Plus, it can be used to manage various conditions but mostly different causes of diarrhea .
Simply put, Metronidazole is a highly valued antibiotic with proven antibacterial and antiprotozoal properties.
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When To Administer Antibiotics For Giardia In Dogs
- You should administer antibiotics for Giardia in your dog if:
- The dog has symptoms of a Giardia infection.
- You suspect your dog has been exposed to Giardia.
- Antibiotics For Giardia In Dogs are typically used to treat a disease, but they can also be taken prophylactically or as part of routine preventative care.
Metronidazole Is Safe For Puppies As Young As Eight Weeks Old
Metronidazole is an antibiotic that is used to treat giardiasis in dogs, a protozoan infection that causes diarrhea. Metronidazole works by killing the Giardia parasite and eliminating it from the body.
When taking your puppy to the vet for treatment of giardiasis, make sure you let him or her know that metronidazole is safe for puppies as young as eight weeks old. This will ensure the veterinarian gives your dog only what it needs. Its important to note that metronidazole should be taken with food. For dogs over four months old, take a small amount of fresh meat with each dose
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Effectiveness Of Fenbendazole And Metronidazole Against Giardia Infection In Dogs Monitored For 50
- 1Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
- 2European Union Reference Laboratory for Parasites, Department of Infectious Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
- 3Department of Veterinary Science, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
What Does Giardia In Dogs Do
Giardia in dogs does not always cause problems, but when it does it is highly unpleasant. Giardiasis is the term for the disease caused by the infection, and, as in humans, the most common symptom is diarrhea.
The parasite inhibits your dogs ability to properly absorb nutrients, water, and electrolytes, which leads to diarrhea and weight loss. The diarrhea can be intermittent or continual, especially in puppies, and failure to diagnose and treat the disease can lead to severe weight loss and even death in extreme cases. The disease is particularly dangerous for puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems.
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Giardia Is A Parasite
Giardia is a type of parasite, and the actual infection from the parasite is known as giardiasis scientifically. The parasite that causes this condition is shed in cysts through an infected animals feces, which allows the cysts to come into contact with the surrounding environment.
Giardia cysts can be transmitted to animals who simply sniff the dirt or feces where the parasite is present. It can also be transmitted through drinking infected water. Because of the prevalence of these cysts, most adult dogs are considered carriers of giardia, even if they do not show symptoms.
How To Prevent Giardiasis
You can prevent the chance of your puppy contracting giardiasis by restricting its access to unsanitary water on your property or while out hiking.
If your puppy becomes infected, do your best to clean any outdoor surfaces where it frequently defecates with a bleach-based cleaning product. Wash all dog beds in hot water and laundry detergent.
Reinfection is common in dogs due to normal grooming behaviors. For this reason, it is important to make sure that there are no feces left on your dog’s fur after defecating. If your dog has long fur, trim the fur under the tail short so fecal matter doesn’t get stuck in it. It may also be necessary to wash your dog’s bottom after it goes to the bathroom.
Since giardia also commonly occurs in kennels and boarding facilities where dogs share common play areas, it’s best not to board your dog until it’s about a year old to avoid infection.
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How Long Does Giardia Survive In The Environment
- Giardia can survive for several months in cold water or soil.
- Giardia can survive much longer in soil at colder temperatures than at room temperature.
- Giardia can survive longer in water at colder temperatures than at warmer temperatures .
- Giardia survives much longer in moist, cool environments than in dry, warm environments that have direct sunlight.
Tinidazole Is Often Used In Cases Where Other Treatments Have Failed
Tinidazole is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that can be used to treat giardia in dogs. It is often used in cases where other treatments have failed, and it is a prescription drug that must be administered by a veterinarian. It can cause side effects in dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea.
It is a prescription drug that must be administered by a veterinarian. It can cause side effects in dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea. Tinidazole is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that can be used to treat giardia in dogs. It is often used in cases where other treatments have failed
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What Is The Prognosis For Dogs With Giardia
Giardia is easily treatable, and infection is rarely life-threatening. However, for elderly dogs, puppies, or dogs with immunodeficiencies, the risk of complications and even death is possible. After your dogs treatment is completed, they should be retested within two to four weeks to ensure the infection is completely gone.
Its Typically Not A Fatal Condition
Giardia is not a fatal condition, except in very young puppies or very old senior dogs. In these cases, the amount of diarrhea caused by the parasite may lead to dehydration very quickly, which can be fatal for dogs whose immune systems are compromised or have not fully formed yet.
Although the condition is not fatal, it can make your dog feel lethargic and unhappy, and he may feel some pain or nausea from the infection as well. For this reason, you should still take him to the vet for the right treatment to help him get back to normal.
Host Associations And Transmission Between Hosts
- Giardia exists in different “assemblages,” which vary in their infectivity for animals and humans. Dogs have mainly Assemblages A1, C and D. However, some studies have identified human Assemblages of Giardia in canine fecal samples.
- The total number of Giardia strains and host-infectivity ranges is unknown.
- Transmission occurs upon ingestion of cysts shed by animals or humans.
- Cysts are acquired from fecal-contaminated water, food, or fomites or through self-grooming.
- Dog strains are not known to infect cats, and cat strains are not known to infect dogs.
- Human infections are primarily acquired from other humans transmission from dogs to humans appears to be rare.
Each assemblage is capable of infecting certain species, and some assemblages are more commonly seen than others.
Some sub-assemblages have been shown to be zoonotic. Assemblage testing is commercially available.
Treatment Of Giardia In Dogs
No drugs are approved for the treatment of giardiasis in dogs in the United States. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends the following:6
- Metronidazole or
- Fenbendazole or
- A combination of fenbendazole and metronidazole for 5 days
Fenbendazole is approved for the treatment of giardiasis in dogs in Europe. The use of a combination product consisting of febantel, praziquantel, and pyrantel temporarily stopped cyst shedding in dogs,7 but there are not much additional data supporting this treatment.
Albendazole has been used in the treatment of giardiasis however, there is apprehension about using this drug owing to potential bone marrow toxicity. Albendazole toxicity has been reported in humans, cats, pigs, camelids, and a variety of birds, although it is still used in some of these species.8 In one study, administration of 4 doses of 25 mg/kg was successful in eliminating cyst shedding in dogs with no apparent toxic effects.9 The evidence for toxicity stems from 17 adverse event reports to the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine ,10 a published report of suspected toxicosis in a single dog and a single cat,11 and 4 reports of adverse experiences to the United States Pharmacopeia veterinary practitioners reporting program.10 Neither FDA-CVM nor USP recorded complaints associated with use of albendazole in cats. Given its apparent usefulness in treating giardiasis, the use of albenzadole deserves to be re-examined.
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Symptoms Of Giardia In Dogs
Giardia in dogs is a disease that causes a lot of watery diarrhea. Beyond diarrhea, Giardia symptoms in dogs can include vomiting, excess foul-smelling gas, decreased appetite, decreased energy, and frequent urges to poop.
It is also worth noting that dogs can have Giardia present in their intestines and be subclinical, which means they are asymptomatic. Since the test for Giardia is not routinely run in healthy dogs, were not sure how often this is the case.
The possibility of otherwise healthy dogs carrying Giardia is another reason why hygiene around animal feces is so important beyond the ick factor of handling poop.
Does Your Dog Have Giardia Get The Facts On Symptoms & Treatments
If your dog has diarrhea that just won’t go away, don’t ignore it. It could be caused by a common intestinal parasite called Giardia that is spread through the poop of infected animals.
Treatment typically involves medication to rid your pet and his environment of the parasite. And while there aren’t any preventatives available for Giardia in dogs, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your dog’s risk of infection.
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Summary Of Giardia In Dogs
Giardia is a single-celled parasite that causes intestinal issues such as diarrhea, and is highly contagious for other pets and humans. Providing your dog with access to clean, fresh water and restricting their ability to drink stagnant water or consume contaminated material will reduce their risk of infection. Giardia can be treated and is rarely life-threatening.
Why You Shouldnt Treat Giardia In Dogs With Medication
There are three drugs vets commonly prescribe to get rid of giardia.
Sometimes they may even prescribe a combination of two of these medications.
But none of these three drugs is FDA-approved for animals.
They can also can create a mixed bag of side effects.
All these drugs often cause diarrhea and vomiting. And they may have other side effects, such as
- Fenbendazole: facial swelling, hives, and excess salivation.
- Metronidazole: blood in urine, muscle stiffness, and dilated pupils, neurological issues.
- Albendazole: low energy, lower white blood cell production, and convulsions.
Giardia can take a while to get rid of. And these drugs also carry long-term risks.
- Albendazole can cause bone marrow suppression.
- Metronidazole can cause gastrointestinal illnesses and allergies.
- Albendazole and fenbendazole can exacerbate liver problems
And like most conventional anti- medications, these drugs can wreak havoc with your dogs gut health. Because 80% of your dogs immune system lives in the gut that means it can make him more susceptible to illness in the future.
But the good news is there are natural ways to get rid of giardia in your dog.
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Natural Remedies For Giardia In Dogs
Giardia is a common intestinal parasite in dogs and it can be one of many causes of diarrhea. Giardia creates an infection in your dogs intestines leading to diarrhea or loose stools and eventually can cause malabsorption of nutrients.
Instead of dosing your dog with drugs, here are some natural remedies for giardia in dogs that are safe for your dog and his microbiome.
But first, you want to be sure youre dealing with giardia.