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Giardia in Dogs: What is it?

Dog kisses are sweet but can also be full of parasites

Giardia or Giardtiasis is an infection that can affect both people and animals and is often known as parasitic diarrhea. It is caused by the parasite Giardia duodenalis. Can you guess what the primary symptom is? If you guessed diarrhea then you are right!

Giardia can live in a dogs gut, outdoors in water or in feces. In fact, the parasite can survive for several months. Most cases of Guardia are in puppies, or dogs below a year old, or dogs living in kennels.

Basically dogs get Giardia by eating infected feces or drinking from infected water. Infected water can be dog bowels, lakes, puddles, and pretty much any standing water. Most of the time when dogs get this they will be fine but puppies and older dogs can have potentially fatal symptoms.

Giardia Symptoms in Dogs

There are. a few different types of Giardia which can cause some slight variations in symptoms, as well as variation in symptoms due to the age of the dog. Sometimes symptoms can be sudden, chronic, intermittent, or temporary. But if you see these symptoms, you will want to get them treated.

  • Diarrhea with mucus, a bad smell, or a greasy texture. (refer to our dog poop blog to learn more)
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

You should know that the symptoms of giardia in dogs may vary. The older the dog is, the more difficult it will be to identify them, as they are not as clear as in puppies. Note that symptoms[4] can be either sudden, temporary, intermittent or chronic depending on the type of giardia, so make sure you’re on guard:

  • Soft¬†diarrhea¬†containing: mucus, bad smell, greasy texture
  • Vomiting
  • Apparent weight loss
  • Lethargy

It is possible for your dog to have Giardia and not show any symptoms. The only way to be completely sure is to do a fecal test. When you get a new puppy, it is always a good idea to get them tested for Giardia. If you do see these symptoms, get in touch with your Albuquerque vet to get them tested and treated.

Treating Giardia

Thankfully treating Giardia is straight forward. Your vet will prescribe an oral medication that will be give for 3 to 10 days. You may be asked to bathe your dog with a anti-parasite shampoo to make sure there is not contaminated tool on their coat.

Treating Your Home

If your dog has Giardia it is a good idea to treat your home as well as your dog. This will help reduce any chance of re-infestation,

  • Remove any standing water and clean all water bowls.
  • Get rid of all fecal matter (poo) from around your house.
  • Clean hard surfaces with bleach.
  • Clean your carpet with a steam cleaner.

Make sure your dog is drinking lots of fresh water so they don’t get dehydrated. Also pick up any poo as soon as your dog makes it. Hygiene is incredibly important to avoid re -infestation.

Can I get giardia from my dog?

Yes. Because it is transmitted through feces they way humans get it is by their dog licking their anus and then licking your face. This is a really good reason not to let your dog lick your face.