Giardiasis In Dogs

An Overview of Giardiasis

Giardiasis is the infection of the intestine, developed as an interaction with the giardia parasite protozoan. An interesting fact is that these parasites are ubiquitous in humans. A dog will develop this infection when it ingests an infectious offspring cyst with infected feces. The infection can develop with or without direct contact with infected excreta. The microorganisms when enters the animal’s body, quickly makes their way into the intestine. This results in diarrhea.

Signs and types

Well, young pups, due to their underdeveloped immune system, are the best victims of these microorganisms, and thus easily shows the signs and symptoms related to giardiasis. These signs can be:

  • Acute
  • Intermittent
  • Transient
  • Chronic

In few cases, the affected dog will suffer from frequent diarrhea which will be frothy, greasy, soft, with an excessive mucous and or a smelly odor.

Can giardia parasites be harmful to humans?

Giardia can spread to humans from dogs. Consequences include diarrhea. Assemblage A and Genotypes can affect either humans or dogs and cats, but B can affect both the humans and dogs. Human to human contamination is also very prevalent, through contaminated municipal wastes.

If the pet tests positive for giardiasis, then the owner will also have to take care of himself, to avoid future contamination. The ones who have immunodeficiency, like AIDS and Cancer, will have to make extreme care for themselves.


The most commonly seen cause of giardiasis is when a healthy animal, in this case, a dog ingests feces with giardia parasites. Though this beforementioned cause is thought to be the most common cause, but according to experts, the prevalent cause of the disease is actually waterborne, as these parasites prefer wet and cool temperature. One shocking survey says that about fifty percent of young puppies suffer from this condition. About hundred percent of dogs who live in kennels are prone to develop the condition, due to the massive and regular exposure to other dogs.


After visiting the vet, he will first rule out the possibilities of other conditions, such as:

  • Malabsorption of nutrients
  • Maldigestion of foods
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

After ruling out the possibility of any other health condition of the intestine, the vet will suggest some possible treatments. The organisms are primarily detected in feces so that experts will examine the pet excreta in the lab. There are possibilities of false positivity.


Unless the dog becomes weak and sick, the vet will treat the affected dog as an outpatient. The pet will suggest some prescription medications for the dog. Partnered with bathing, the overall treatment will eventually reduce the possibility of recurrence of infection. Bathing here is a part of the overall treatment and will help to remove the parasites from the dog’s body. The vet will most probably suggest fecal exams on a regular level, while the owner continues with the treatment, to make sure the parasites have left the dog. This whole process of fecal exam repetition will be beneficial for the dog, so it will reduce the chances of the dog becoming crippled in the future.

Dogs with recurrent giardiasis

Many dogs will re-face the giardia infections as soon as the treatment finishes up. It will happen as the giardia parasites stay back in the house. To prevent  giardia infection, follow these tips:

  1. The owner will have to compel the dog to defecate on cement surfaces or any surface which can be disinfected after the dog finishes its work. Large grassy areas can play hosts to giardia parasites for months. After recovering from the infection, the healthy dog can return to these places, and reinfect itself with the parasites.
  2. If the owner is among those who regularly take the dog for a walk, then he will have to carry a spray bottle of dilute bleach solution to quickly disinfectant the surface.
  3. Limit the dog’s interaction with the affected places.
  4. Other pets in the house should also go through diagnosis and treatment of giardiasis, as pet friends here will act as pet foes and can spread the parasites to each other. Especially felines are known to spread these parasites to their canine counterparts.
  5. Drinking from the communal water bowls should be avoided.
  6. Again, drinking from the lakes, pools, ponds, rivers, etc. needs prohibition from the owner’s side, as these water sources can have feces with giardia parasites.
  7. Allowing the dog to eat its own feces is also a complete no.

Living and managing the condition

It is very crucial to observe for signs of dehydration in the dog, especially in younger dogs. Same way, checking the effectiveness and the pace of recovery of the affected dog is also very important. It can happen that the drug prescribed by the vet may not be suitable for the dog. Or a potential medicine can dispose fatal consequences for the affected. So the administration of the drugs is significant.


The most common cause of infection is an unattended and lenient interaction in the kennel club with the affected dog(s). So, the owner, should always zero on a kennel club, which offers a safe and well-monitored den for our canine companions.

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