6 Things to Know About Giardia in Dogs in Crown Point, IN
Has your dog been diagnosed with Giardia, or do you think they might have this condition? If so, you may have many questions about Giardia and want to know more about what this means for your pet in Crown Point, IN.
In the article below, you’ll find information about what Giardia is and what it can cause in terms of symptoms for your pet. You can also learn more about how serious this problem is and what to expect if your pet becomes infected.
Giardia is a Parasite
Giardia is a single-celled parasite that dwells in the canine intestine. The infection this parasite causes is called Giardiasis. Dogs can become infected with Giardiasis if they swallow Giardia after drinking water that has been contaminated by another, infected dog’s feces. Occasionally, dogs can also become infected by sniffing contaminated dirt or feces. Giardia is extremely prevalent among dogs, and many that become infected do not suffer any symptoms.
Giardia is Highly Contagious
Giardia is extremely contagious. Since it can be transmitted to healthy animals from the moment it leaves an infected animal’s body through feces, it is widely present in situations where many dogs can be found at once. Dog parks, kennels, and animal hospitals are common places where Giardia may be picked up.
Giardia can also be spread easily between pets living in the same household. If you have one dog who becomes infected, chances are good your other dogs will quickly pick up this parasite as well. It can be spread through licking, playing, sharing food bowls, sharing water, and even just walking in the same areas.
Giardia Causes Digestive Issues
Diarrhea is the most common symptom of an active Giardia infection. The diarrhea may be greenish or yellow in color, or it might be brown, but it is always going to be liquid. There may sometimes be blood present in a dog’s stool as a result of Giardia as well. If a dog is infected as a puppy, they may remain periodically sick with diarrhea until they are fully grown, at which time their immune system can more easily fight off Giardia.
Giardia Must Be Treated with Medication
Although Giardia flare-ups may come and go on their own, the parasite itself must be treated with medication. Metronidazole is one of the most common medications given for the treatment of Giardia. It is an antibiotic that attacks the parasite and helps the dog’s body recover more quickly.
It is also important to regularly clean up after your dog if they have Giardia. Pick up their feces immediately and bathe them regularly to remove the presence of Giardia cysts from their fur. Do not let them share food or water with other dogs, as they may risk passing on the disease to them as well.
Giardiasis is Not Typically Fatal
Generally, Giardia is not a fatal condition, but it can be a threat to very young puppies and very old senior dogs. In these cases, the amount of diarrhea caused by the parasite may quickly lead to dehydration, which in itself can be fatal for dogs whose immune systems are compromised or not yet fully developed.
Regardless, Giardia can make your dog feel lethargic and unhappy, and they may feel some pain or nausea from the infection, as well. For this reason, you should still take your dog to the vet, so they can receive the proper treatment and make a fully recovery.
Giardia Can Sometimes Be Passed on to Humans
Although rare, Giardia can sometimes be passed from dogs to humans. Two of the types of Giardia–type A and type B–can infect both dogs and humans, and type A can also infect cats. Therefore, you should practice excellent hygiene when handling your dog if he or she has been diagnosed with Giardia.
How to Prevent the Spread of Giardia
You can take steps to prevent the spread of Giardia if your dog happens to be infected.
- Always wash your hands after picking up your pet’s stool, and after petting or handling them
- Keep your home clean, and pay special attention to areas your pet frequents
- After cleaning, do not allow these areas to remain wet, as Giardia favors wet conditions
With this information, you should have a better idea of what to expect if your dog is diagnosed with Giardia, and be able to take steps to protect them from infection. Diarrhea is not an unnatural occurrence in pets, but if your companion is suffering from frequent diarrhea, be sure to notify your vet right away so they can help.
If your dog shows any signs of Giardia or if you have any other concerns, take him to the vet. He does not need an emergency vet visit, but he will need to see a vet to be given the right medication to handle the problem. Taking action early on can save your pet from discomfort and protect other pets from infection.
Does Your Dog Have Giardia? Our Crown Point, IN, Veterinarians Can Help!
Our veterinarians can determine, diagnose and treat your dog if it’s determined they have Giardia. For any questions, feel free to stop by our animal hospital in Crown Point, IN, or give us a call at (219) 267-1700.