Dog Parasite - Giardia


What is it?

Giardiasis (GEE-are-DYE-uh-sis) is a diarrheal illness caused by a one-celled, microscopic parasite, Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia). Once an animal has been infected with Giardia intestinalis, the parasite lives in the intestine and is passed in the stool. Because the parasite is protected by an outer shell, it can survive outside the body and in the environment for long periods of time.

Giardia is harder to diagnose than other intestinal parasites, and several stool samples may have to be tested before it is found. If necessary, your veterinarian will recommend treatment with medications to eliminate the infection. Because it is highly contagious among animals, good hygiene and sanitation are important when there are multiple pets in the household

Parasite found - Small intestine

Symptoms - Clinical signs of giardia include weight loss, inability to gain weight appropriately during growth, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite and greasy appearing stools.

Treatment - The most commonly used medication for giardia infection is metronidazole (Flagyl).

** medication information from vetinfo4dogs

Prevention - Keeping the dog's environment dry helps a lot.

This disease may be contagious to people from infected dogs so good sanitary practices, like washing your hands after handling an infected puppy, are very important. If a family member develops similar clinical signs, a physician should be consulted.