What is Giardia in dogs?
Giardia is a parasite that lives in your dog’s intestine and attacks the lining. This leads to Canine Giardiasis which can result in very watery, strong-smelling diarrhoea and it is spread by infected dog poo. Although it is low probability, humans can also catch Giardiasis so remember to ALWAYS wash your hands after handling your dog’s poo.
This nasty parasite can actually live for months in the environment - even after the dog poo has gone. It can be caught anywhere the infected poo particles have been i.e. other infected dogs or infected water or food. Waterborne infection is probably the most common way your dog can contract this parasite.
How do I know if my dog has Giardia?
Many infected dogs tend to be asymptomatic carriers (meaning they will show no symptoms). You are more likely to see signs of Giardia in your puppy or older dog. To help identify if your dog has this parasite, look for:
- Strong watery diarrhoea
- Blood in stools
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
What should I do if my dog has Giardia?
In most cases, Giardia can go away within days or a few weeks. If you suspect your dog has Giardia, our Worm Count Test is a great alternative option to a costly vet’s trip as Giardia is one of the many things we test for. These worm count tests give you a good idea of what is going on inside your dog’s intestines and are easy to do at home. They come with a full set of instructions and a pre-paid envelope to return your test for analysis. If the test comes back and shows that your dog does have Giardia then you can arrange a trip to the vet’s for treatment or consider using our Grapefruit Seed Extract as a natural alternative. To treat Giardia, your vet may prescribe worming treatment or antibiotics.
Giardia in older dogs, puppies and sickly dogs should be closely monitored. Their immune systems will not be as robust and so are more likely to fall victim to sickness and find it harder to fight off this parasite. Acute diarrhoea can be fatal and so seek guidance from your vet should their symptoms worsen or be prolonged.
During this time, take steps to ensure your dog does not come into contact with other dogs. Clean their food bowls and toys regularly with boiling water and ensure clean, fresh water is always available. Try and get rid of any stale water spots around your garden and clean up your dog’s poo straight away. Also wash your dog’s bedding frequently during this time. As well as helping your dog to get better, it will also help prevent re-infection.
Generally, the prognosis for recovery for Giardiasis is good and most dogs will go on to make a full recovery. Just remember to pay special attention to dogs that will struggle to fight off the parasite on their own.
We hope you find this useful.
Laura, Dolly & Reggie xxx