Giardia is a microscopic parasite that lives in the intestines of many domestic and wild animals. The parasite is shed in the feces and can survive in moist areas, particularly stagnant water and animal waste. Giardia attaches to the intestinal lining, damaging the tissue and interfering with the host’s ability to absorb nutrients. If your dog is infected, she may exhibit diarrhea, depression, weight loss, decreased appetite, vomiting, or a combination of these symptoms.
If giardia parasites remain in the host for a long time, they erode the intestinal lining and cause sporadic bloody diarrhea. Left untreated, your Pet may become increasingly debilitated and susceptible to other infections. Because giardia is a zoonotic parasite, there is a risk that it can be transmitted between Pets and humans. People suffering from giardia infection are subject to the same health threats as their Pets.
If your Pet is infected with giardia, your Banfield veterinarian is ready with GiardiaVaxTM and a broad range of antibiotics and dewormers to treat the infection. If diarrhea and vomiting are severe, a special diet and anti-diarrheal and anti-nausea drugs are needed. Banfield recommends routine evaluation of your dog’s fecal samples to help catch infections early.
Cleaning your Pet’s environment is an extremely important part of eliminating giardia, preventing reinfection, and protecting your family.
To further reduce the threat of infection, don’t let your Pet drink from streams or lakes. Bring iodine tablets with you when you camp to treat drinking water, as the iodine kills giardia. Anytime you’re away from home, have fresh, clean water available for your Pet. Keep your yard clean of feces; feces from all animals, including birds, can be sources of infection. Regularly remove animal waste from your yard to help minimize exposure. And remember to wash your hands thoroughly after contact with feces.
Authored by Brent Carroll, DVM
PLEASE NOTE GIARDIA VACCINES DO EXIST. WHILE IT DOES NOT PREVENT GIARDIA IT HELPS WITH THE SHEDDING AND LIMITS ILLNESS FROM IT. Ask you Vet for more info.
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