Giardia in dogs can be contagious to humans and other all household pets. After the initial infection, Giardia can spread rapidly in situations where many dogs live together. Knowing the symptoms and the risks will help you get your dog back to health and prevent the spread of this unpleasant disease.
You can learn more about how serious this problem is. And what to expect if your pet does get an infection.
Table of Contents
What is Giardia in Dogs?
Giardia is a protozoan parasite (unicellular microbe). Due to this, there is an infection in the intestines. The technical term for this infection in dogs is “canine giardiasis.” While rarely fatal, Giardia can cause trouble for you and your dog.
What can cause a pet in terms of symptoms?
- Giardia is a parasite
- Giardia is highly contagious
- It Can Cause Digestive Problems
- Giardia must be treated with medication
- This is not usually a fatal condition
Giardia symptoms in dogs
Giardia is only discovered through testing a dog’s feces. Since Giardia lives in the intestine, most symptoms are related to defecation.
Symptoms of Giardia in dogs may include:
- Abdominal distension
- Greasy/fatty stools
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Acute diarrhea (very watery diarrhea)
- Mucus and red blood in diarrhea
What does Giardia poop look like in dogs?
Giardia cysts are microscopic and too small to be seen with the naked eye. Since giardiasis often causes diarrhea, the presence of soft, watery, greasy, or green stools can be an indicator. However, as these can also be symptoms of other conditions, it is always best to get your vet to confirm the diagnosis.
How is Giardia transmitted to dogs?
Lick or sniff
Drinking contaminated water
Licking contaminated surfaces
Smelling giardia cysts in the stool or on a surface
Eating contaminated food
Consumption of contaminated feces
Being close to other animals with Giardia
Giardia in Puppies
Giardia is more severe for dogs and puppies with underlying conditions. Giardia-induced diarrhea can cause your puppy to become dangerously dehydrated from what they eat. Puppies can contract Giardia by interacting with infected surfaces, their parents, or other litter members. Thankfully, they can be treated for Giardia in the same way as adult dogs.
Preventing Giardia in Dogs
Giardia can’t always be prevented, but you can reduce your dog’s risk of contracting the parasite.
Prevent your dog from drinking from stagnant water sources. Giardia often occurs in streams, puddles, and lakes. Wildlife feces are another source. Prevent your dog from consuming potential contaminants by keeping them on a leash, and make sure they always have access to clean, fresh water.
If you and your dog travel to places with a high incidence of Giardia, consider giving your dog filtered or bottled water. This will reduce the risk of infection from their drinking water and prevent possible spread to human members of your family.
When in doubt, contact your veterinarian.
If your pup shows any signs of Giardia, or if you have any other concerns, take him to the pet vet. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an emergency visit, but he would need to see a vet prescribe the proper medication to handle the problem.
Giardia medication for dogs
A combination of medication and environmental management will cure Giardia. The most common drug used to treat Giardia in dogs is the anthelmintic agent fenbendazole (Panacur). Additionally, other drugs such as febantel and pyrantel are available.
Metronidazole is also frequently used to treat Giardia. Because Giardia can be difficult to get rid of, some veterinarians prefer to treat it with metronidazole and fenbendazole.
Treatment of Giardia
Bathing your dog regularly during an infection can help remove ulcers from their coat. This reduces the risk of re-infection. And reduces the risk of your dog.
Precautions after treatment
If your dog has been diagnosed with Giardia, practice good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands before eating and cleaning up dog feces. Disinfecting household surfaces with a typical disinfectant spray such as Lysol (or any disinfectant containing bleach) will destroy the cysts and is essential to use on food preparation surfaces.
Giardia cysts thrive in wet, moist environments, so keeping these disinfected areas dry afterward is essential. After cleaning your pet’s sleeping area, move your pet to another part of your home for several days. Moving your pet will prevent re-infection, and any giardia that dies will have enough time to survive the disinfectant.
What is the cost of treating Giardia in dogs?
Giardia requires neither surgery nor expensive medicines.
Expect to pay for your dog’s medication, veterinary office visits, and additional tests. Costs vary depending on location, severity, and the need for your dog to go to the veterinary emergency room.
Summary of Giardia in Dogs
Giardia is a single-celled parasite that causes intestinal issues such as diarrhea and is highly contagious to other pets and humans. Giving your dog access to fresh water and limiting his ability to drink stagnant water or consume contaminated material will reduce his risk of infection.
Dogs are relatively less likely to become infected with Giardia infection. This is because there are seven types of this parasite, A to G. Cats with F and dogs are usually infected with types C and D, and humans are typically infected with types A and B.
Yes. With medication and proper care, a dog can be cured of Giardia. However, since Giardia is prevalent in most polluted environments, there is a risk of reinfection.
7 to 20 days
Once the proper treatment is started, your pet should have some relief from his symptoms within 15 to 45 hours. If their symptoms are not improving, you should let your vet know. Within 7 to 20 days, your dog will fully recover from their Giardia infection, as long as they don’t become infected again.