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Understanding Giardia Infections in Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide


Lonsdale Place Veterinary North Vancouver

At Lonsdale Place Veterinary Clinic, we are committed to providing pet owners with valuable insights into their pets' well-being. Today, we'll explore Giardia infections in dogs, a common concern for many pet owners. Let's delve into what Giardia is, how it affects your furry friend, and steps you can take to prevent and manage it.

North Vancouver Vet

Giardia in Dogs: The Basics

Giardia is a microscopic parasite that can cause gastrointestinal distress in dogs. While it can infect various mammals, certain strains are more likely to affect specific species. Younger dogs and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of experiencing symptoms. North Vancouver Vet


Contracting Giardia: How Does It Happen?

Dogs contract Giardia by ingesting Giardia cysts, and it only takes a small number to lead to infection. Here are common scenarios where dogs can pick up Giardia:

  • Contact with feces from an infected animal

  • Digging in contaminated soil

  • Drinking from tainted water sources

  • Licking paws or fur after contact with contaminated surfaces

Recognizing Giardia Infection in Dogs

Giardiasis often presents suddenly and is known for causing foul-smelling, greasy diarrhea, which may be pale and contain mucus. Other symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting

  • Excessive flatulence

  • Decreased appetite

  • Lethargy

  • Frequent defecation

  • Abdominal discomfort

Diagnosing Giardia: A Veterinary Challenge

Detecting Giardia in dogs can be tricky because infected pets do not consistently shed cysts. This may require multiple fecal exams or an antigen test designed to identify specific proteins produced by the parasite. North Vancouver Vet


Protecting Your Furry Family: Should All Pets Be Checked?

If one of your dogs is diagnosed with Giardia, consider having your other dogs examined as well. While Giardia infections typically stay within the same species, cross-species transmission can occur. North Vancouver Vet



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Giardia Treatment and Management

Although there isn't a medication specifically labeled for Giardia treatment, a combination of deworming and antibiotics is generally effective. Additionally, probiotics and a prescription diet that supports gastrointestinal health can help manage your dog's diarrhea until the parasite is eliminated. North Vancouver Vet


Preventing Giardia Reinfection

Preventing reinfection can be challenging, as dogs can pick up Giardia cysts each time they defecate. To minimize the risk:

  • Designate a specific area in your yard for your dog to eliminate.

  • Regularly disinfect areas your dog frequents and bathe your dog at the beginning and end of treatment.

  • Prevent your dog from drinking from potentially contaminated water sources.

Can Humans Contract Giardia from Dogs?

While the risk is low, humans can develop giardiasis. However, different Giardia strains tend to infect different species, reducing the likelihood of transmission. Nevertheless, practice good hygiene, including disinfecting your dog's supplies and thorough handwashing, when caring for your pet. North Vancouver Vet


For early diagnosis and expert care in managing Giardia infections in dogs, don't hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team at Lonsdale Place Veterinary Clinic. Your pet's health and well-being are our top priorities. North Vancouver Vet




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