Giardiasis is a disease caused by a parasite called Giardia that affects our pets and if the necessary care and hygiene measures are not taken, it could also affect us.
Would you like to know more about this parasite? Stay and read this article and together with Waggy's we continue to protect the physical and mental well-being of our pets. Here you will discover what it is, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and much more information that you will love. Are you ready?
What is Giardia in Dogs?
Giardia is a parasite that mainly affects dogs and can be found in various places such as soil, food or water. There are two types of it, the trophozoite and the cyst, both are infectious. The first is the one found in the body of our four-legged friend during the infection while the second is a form of resistance that the parasite adopts in the environment and that allows it to survive for months.
Likewise, it is also important that you know that there are direct and indirect forms of contagion, direct contact can be considered when our pet ingests infected or contaminated feces and indirect contact is when it becomes infected through water or food.
Symptoms of Giardia in Dogs
Waggy's will always place great emphasis on reminding you that the symptoms will not be uniform in all dogs, they will vary depending on many factors such as the severity of the disease, the time in which it was detected, your pet's medical history, breed, age. , among many others. That said, the following symptoms can serve as a clue to identify this condition:
Diarrhea is one of the most obvious symptoms. It may be liquid, with blood or mucus, and may appear intermittently.
Some dogs with giardia may also experience vomiting, which may be sporadic or frequent.
Giardia can interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, which can lead to significant weight loss.
Infected dogs may show signs of abdominal discomfort, such as hunching, excessive licking in the abdominal area, or resistance to touch on the belly.
The presence of giardia in the gastrointestinal tract can also cause excessive flatulence in some dogs.
Dogs with giardia may appear more tired or lethargic than normal due to the illness.
Malnutrition and general poor appearance
In severe and chronic cases, dogs may show poor physical condition, dull coat, and lack of vitality due to nutrient loss and persistent diarrhea.
Frequent diarrhea and vomiting can lead to dehydration if not managed properly
Giardia can weaken a dog's immune system, making it more susceptible to other infections and diseases.
Importantly, some dogs can be asymptomatic carriers of giardia, meaning they can harbor the parasite in their system without showing obvious symptoms, but can still transmit it to other animals and people.
Causes and Risk Factors
Actually, since it is a parasite, the causes are a little ambiguous or are not fully defined since being part of the environment and being in our nature, in a certain way they become something inevitable. Even so, we can identify risk factors for subsequent prevention such as shelters, shelters, residences, among others. All of these places constitute a danger because they have a large concentration of dogs. Finally, puppies under six months old and homes where many animals such as dogs and cats live together can also be a source of infection.
Diagnosis of Giardia in Dogs
We ourselves can tell that something is not right and believe me, you will notice. Giardiasis in dogs is a very smelly diarrhea that lasts between 5 and 12 days and can occur even before the dog begins to expel the parasite with feces. The dog defecates more frequently and the stools are pale in color, may contain mucus and are liquid to soft; Sometimes there is a fever.
After identifying any of the above symptoms, it is necessary that you go to a veterinarian to make sure that your pet has such a parasite and then treat it. You may use the following options to determine the disease:
Clinical examination and history
The veterinarian will begin by performing a complete physical examination of the dog and gather information about the animal's symptoms and medical history.
The most common method to diagnose giardia is through the observation of cysts or trophozoites of the parasite in a sample of the dog's feces. This is done through a specialized stool test called "fecal flotation" or "fecal centrifugation." However, it is important to note that giardia may be intermittent in its shedding in stool, so multiple samples may be necessary to obtain a definitive diagnosis.
This test is known as an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and is used to detect giardia antigens in stool. These tests can be useful to identify the presence of the parasite, even in cases of intermittent elimination in the feces.
In cases of chronic giardia or when other methods have yielded inconclusive results, the veterinarian may perform an endoscopy or duodenal biopsy to obtain a direct sample of the small intestine and look for evidence of giardia.
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Treatment of Giardia in Dogs
The treatment will also vary depending on the veterinarian and the factors, however it is likely that your pet will be prescribed antiparasitic medications such as fenbendazole and metronidazole, you simply have to be very responsible with the dosage and the time at which it is to be ingested.
There are also certain actions that you can take to help your pet's speedy recovery, these are:
- Wash and disinfect areas where your dog has defecated, as well as its toys and utensils.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning up your dog's feces or coming into contact with him.
- Isolate your dog from other animals and prevent him from coming into contact with them until he is completely recovered.
- Avoid letting your dog drink water from unsafe sources, such as puddles or stagnant water, as giardia can spread through contaminated water.
Prevention of Giardia in Dogs
In this case, prevention measures are closely related to everything that is hygiene because this is essential to stop sources of infections. These are:
Supply clean water
Make sure your dog has access to clean water; avoid drinking water from unknown sources, such as puddles or stagnant water, as giardia can be found in contaminated water.
Regularly wash and disinfect the areas where your dog lives and plays, including his outdoor space and sleeping area. Remove your dog's feces properly and prevent feces from accumulating in the yard or garden.
Avoid interaction with infected dogs
If you know other dogs that are infected with giardia, prevent your dog from interacting with them until they are free of the infection.
Make sure your dog's food is in good condition and stored properly to avoid contamination with giardia or other pathogens.
Talk to your veterinarian about a regular deworming program for your dog. Some deworming medications can help prevent giardia infection in dogs.
Maintaining general health
Keep your dog in good health through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and regular veterinary care.
How long does Giardia last?
A giardia infection usually lasts three or four weeks and drug treatment lasts about five days. After giving the dog the drugs, the stool examination should be repeated. Only in this way can it be guaranteed that the giardia has really been eliminated.
What do I feed my dog with Giardia?
It is commonly known that during illness it is better to feed our pets a soft diet because they are less aggressive with their stomach. You can offer cooked, soft foods such as white rice, boiled chicken without skin or bones, turkey or lean meat cooked without fat, and canned pumpkin without spices. Another option is to look for foods formulated for sensitive dogs or dogs with gastrointestinal problems if necessary, however, remember that all this information must be approved by your veterinarian since each dog is different.
As mentioned above, Giardia is a parasite that mainly affects dogs and can be found in various places such as soil, food or water. The symptoms it presents are very varied, however, diarrhea is one of the most prominent elements during this disease.
Giardiasis is a disease that can be prevented through actions that encourage good hygiene, so taking care of environments, diet and making periodic visits to the veterinarian to monitor the health of our pets will be essential. Let us also remember that early diagnosis and appropriate treatment make a huge difference in the prompt relief of our best four-legged friends.
How did you like this article? It is definitely important information that can help us keep our pets healthy. Our pets are much more than animals in our lives, they are our loyal companions and we need to understand that they also represent a commitment that we make in the long term, so giving them the best quality of life possible will be part of our responsibilities.
To close this section, we recommend that you continue reading the following articles: My dog has a cough , my dog vomits white foam , dyspnea or breathing problems in dogs , leptospirosis in dogs , epilepsy in dogs , respiratory rate in dogs , cold in dogs ,flea bites in dogs and diarrhea in dogs . These talk about other conditions and/or diseases that can affect your pet and it is important that you know how to prevent them.
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