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Dog Health 101 - GIARDIA

Giardia are protozoa (one-celled organisms) that live in the small intestine of dogs and cats. A dog becomes infected by eating the cyst form of the parasite. In the small intestine, the cyst opens and releases an active form called a trophozoite. These have flagella, hair-like structures that whip back and forth allowing them to move around. They attach to the intestinal wall and reproduce by dividing in two. After an unknown number of divisions, at some stage, in an unknown location, this form develops a wall around itself (encysts) and is passed in the feces. The Giardia in the feces can contaminate the environment and water and infect other animals and people.

Symptoms
  • Most infections with Giardia are asymptomatic
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • May not lose appetite but may lose weight
  • Feces are often abnormal, being pale, having a bad odor, and appearing greasy.
Prevention
  • Cool moist conditions favor the survival of the organism; therefore, keep everything clean, disinfected, and dry.
  • Lysol, ammonia, and bleach can be effective decontamination agents. Look for products that contain quaternary ammonium compounds.
  • Disease may be spread from dog to humans so good sanitary practices, so wash hands frequently.
Treatment
  • Metronidazole (Flagyl) most common medication of choice.


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Dog Health 101 - GIARDIA

Giardia are protozoa (one-celled organisms) that live in the small intestine of dogs and cats. A dog becomes infected by eating the cyst form of the parasite. In the small intestine, the cyst opens and releases an active form called a trophozoite. These have flagella, hair-like structures that whip back and forth allowing them to move around. They attach to the intestinal wall and reproduce by dividing in two. After an unknown number of divisions, at some stage, in an unknown location, this form develops a wall around itself (encysts) and is passed in the feces. The Giardia in the feces can contaminate the environment and water and infect other animals and people.

Symptoms Prevention Treatment