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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question about Giardia

I posted about my pup having diarhea and figuring out he probably has Giardia because me and my boyfriend got symptoms aswell.

Today he isnt having any diarhea and his poop seems to be normal. I was sapposed to take him to the vet tomorrow but i was j.w if i should still since he seems to be doing better. Can this just go away on its own... if i do lots of steralizing around the house soo he cant get re-infected, will he be alright on his own or do i NEED to get him anti-biotics from the vet??

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 07:25 PM
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At where you live, it is very unlikely that your puppy has Giardia this time of the year. Giardia is warm weather bacteria that is usually found outside.

Your puppy has diarrhea from 1 of 2 sources, viral or bacterial. If he has a heavy bacterial growth, it is very unlikely that he will get well on his own. It will require medicine. If it is a mild bacterial infection, his system may right itself and he may get well on his own. If it is a viral infection, his immune system will hve to fight it off. If it is a serious virus like parvo, he would be likely to need some type of veterimarian support or the virus may kill him. If it is a milder virus, such as a corona virus, then they usually fell bad and have diarrhea for a couple of days and then get over it.

If he is bright eyed, acting well, eating well, and pooping well, I would see no reason to take him to the Vet tomorrow. Sounds like you dodged the bullet and he is probably OK, but that is your decision.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Ohh soo there are other types of bacteria that can transfer from dog to human????

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 07:35 PM
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I'm not a Doctor, nor do I play one on TV. :-))) However, I simply don't think that you or your dog have Giardia in Niagara Falls in January. Also, if your puppy had Giardia, he would not have gotten over it by himself. I think it could be a coincidence that you and your boy friend have similar symptoms as the dog, or is it possible that you shared some food with him and you all have a mild case of food poisoning? In most caes food poisoning is some kind bacterial injestion.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 07:46 PM
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Giardia is a single cell protazoan, not a bacteria and is passed to a dog by a contaminated water source. The treatment of choice is metronidazole (flagyl) and even though it is an antibiotic it treats Giardia.

Sometimes dogs can be infected with Giardia and do not show symptoms right away. Another point is even if a dog is infected, the stool may not always confirm it.

Giardia can be passed from dog to human but that would require fecal contamination. I would agree that given the time of year it may be unlikely that your puppy has been infected.

Hope this helps


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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 08:02 PM
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You are right Elaine. Thanks for the biology lesson.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 08:04 PM
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Intermittent diarrhea is a classic sign of giardia - meaning one day they have the runs badly and a day or 2 later they are back to normal.

While I agree that it would be somewhat unusual to pick up giardia in january - Giardia is something that can be in a dog's system for weeks or months before the dog ever becomes symptomatic. Also, almost nothing can 'kill' giardia outside except for bleach - not ice, not cold - they do like to hang out in puddles and stagnant water but if you get an abnormally warm/slushy day it's possible to pick it up in winter months even in colder weather.

No, it absolutely cannot go away on its own - it is usually treated with metronidazole (flagyl) although albendazole or fenbendazole (panacur) are usually much more effective at treating it.

In order to diagnose you do need to bring a stool sample in, but since the giardia cysts are not always shed every time the dog poops, it's very common for a dog to have giardia yet not test positive.

Normally dogs with giardia the diarrhea (when they have it) can appear either slightly mucus-y or streaked with blood, although sometimes neither are present.

If you describe all the dog's symptoms to your vet and the stool sample tests negative, they may still want to treat in case it is giardia.

Another thing that it could be is coccidia - which is another parasite that likes to build colonies in the intestines. It also can cause intermittent diarrhea but unlike giardia, if the dog has a good immune system it usually gets over it on its own. The majority of dogs actually have coccidia in their system all the time, but sometimes will have an 'outbreak' under stressful situations. The usual treatment for coccidia is Albon.

I once had a litter of puppies have both giardia and coccidia at the same time - boy was that a nightmare. Since then I've had 2 or 3 other flare-ups of giardia. Generally now I treat all my guys every 6 months to get rid of any varous parasites they may have picked up in the yard or at a dog show. Normally would keep a bottle of Albendazole liquid in the house, and that worked well. Next time though I will probably get panacur liquid.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaineK9 View Post
Giardia is a single cell protazoan, not a bacteria and is passed to a dog by a contaminated water source. The treatment of choice is metronidazole (flagyl) and even though it is an antibiotic it treats Giardia.

Sometimes dogs can be infected with Giardia and do not show symptoms right away. Another point is even if a dog is infected, the stool may not always confirm it.

Giardia can be passed from dog to human but that would require fecal contamination. I would agree that given the time of year it may be unlikely that your puppy has been infected.

Hope this helps
Beat me to it.

As is coccidia, as well.

OP, there is no point in playing guessing games, your puppy needs to be tested by the vet, so you know what you are dealing with.

It would indeed be a shame if your pup suffered permanent damage because you waited around and guessed, when a simple vet visit and a short round or two of medication could very well clear everything up.
(Edit--some vets treat also with Panacur [Fenbendazole] and even concurrently, with the Flagyl [Metronidazole]).

And yes, seconding the mentions of giardia symptoms being "off and on," dealt with it myself for months with a rescue pup, who was misdiagnosed several times.

There are a few things that are zoonotic--meaning they can transfer between dog and human, but as long as you practice good hygeine and wash your hands well after cleaning any messes, you should be just fine.

If you do suspect you and your boyfriend also have giardia, get tested, and get your home water supply tested.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 09:29 PM
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Giardia can also be passed from infected mom to puppies if hygiene is bad--and could happen if a litter is raised indoors without much cleanliness, even in January.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
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Giardia can also be passed from infected mom to puppies if hygiene is bad--and could happen if a litter is raised indoors without much cleanliness, even in January.
Not only just if hygiene is bad - if a bitch has had giardia it's possible for giardia cysts to lay dormant in mammary glands just like eggs for roundworms do - and pass them that way through milk.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 12:34 AM
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So the reader's digest Pooks?
Take him to the vet then you will know.
Take a stool sample with you as close as you can to the appointment.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaindanceIGs View Post
Not only just if hygiene is bad - if a bitch has had giardia it's possible for giardia cysts to lay dormant in mammary glands just like eggs for roundworms do - and pass them that way through milk.
I have never heard of giardia being passed through the milk. Can you provide me more info on that?

Here in Washington state we are familiar with giardia as we have wet mild weather and lots of ducks LOL.....water fowl frequently harbor the infection.


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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 10:52 AM
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I did read just yesterday that the in-house test that vets do for giardia is not sensitive enough. Must ask them to send it to a testing lab.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaineK9 View Post
I have never heard of giardia being passed through the milk. Can you provide me more info on that?

Here in Washington state we are familiar with giardia as we have wet mild weather and lots of ducks LOL.....water fowl frequently harbor the infection.
I'll see if I can provide a reference - I was told this by a vet who graduated from Cornell a couple years ago (she is the daughter of my close friend, and my friend has had massive Giardia problems and this was one of the reasons he daughter told her that she was having problems getting rid of it). I had not heard of it before until then either.

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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 11:10 AM
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I did read just yesterday that the in-house test that vets do for giardia is not sensitive enough. Must ask them to send it to a testing lab.
This is one of the problems with giardia coupled with the fact that the symptoms are frequently interrmitent.


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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaindanceIGs View Post
I'll see if I can provide a reference - I was told this by a vet who graduated from Cornell a couple years ago (she is the daughter of my close friend, and my friend has had massive Giardia problems and this was one of the reasons he daughter told her that she was having problems getting rid of it). I had not heard of it before until then either.
That would be great, thanks


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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 01:06 PM
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A lot of the times vets will want to run a giardia IFA test. This involves submitting the sample to a lab where not only is the usual test done (float and smear) to check for eggs and cysts, but also a check to see if the dogs immune system is responding to the presence of giardia. Giardia can be difficult to detect. It is also important, that when taking a stool sample to your vet, try and make sure it is relatively solid. I know this is not in your control, but it is easier for the lab to find protazoa if the stool is solid. Meaning a less likely chance of a false negative.

Down here in Southern California giardia is a HUGE problem. You take your dog to the dog park, you better be testing for it monthly. My vet clinic has actually had quite a few owners get giardia too... I know the idea of ingesting your dog's fecal matter is completely repulsive, but it is actually easier than you think.
::Shutters::

Anyway.... regardless of what it is a visit to the vet is needed.

Metronidazole (Flagyl) is also used to treat general GI upset because it has anti-inflammatory properties that usually ease any irritation in the intestines. As well as being an antibiotic.

I have seen mainly Panacur dispensed as a treatment for giardia... it usually involves more than one treatment course about a month apart... I believe.

Albon is usually the choice treatment for coccidia... the other nasty little protazoa that causes horrendous GI problems.

Good luck
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 05:20 PM
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My whole family has got giardia all at once, but I don't think from dogs--I reported this episode to the public health people because people in the five houses surrounding us all came down with similar symptoms at the same time--it is a common contaminant in water supplies around here and can occasionally slip through if they have a break down in their water treatment process.
It can also occasionally go through a day care center because all the diaper changing can sometimes lead to cross contamination, but babies and little kids may have no or very few symptoms.
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 05:34 PM
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More info on Giardia and Coccidia:

Companion Animal Parasite Council—Giardia in Dogs
Giardiasis - CAPC Parasite Recommendations

Companion Animal Parasite Council—Coccidia in Dogs
Coccidiosis: CAPC Parasite Recommendations

Recommend that the OP bring the pup in to the vet to be checked out.

ETA:
more info on zoonotic diseases/parasites:
Information Sheet - Zoonotic Diseases in Shelters


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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 09:44 PM
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You can get giardia when it's cold just as easilly as you can when it's warm out. We were warned repeatedly by our hunting guides in Montana not to drink from any water source that had beavers in it.

According to peteducation.com "The cysts can live several weeks to months outside the host in wet, cold environments."


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post #21 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
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You can get giardia when it's cold just as easilly as you can when it's warm out. We were warned repeatedly by our hunting guides in Montana not to drink from any water source that had beavers in it.
Yeah, I wasn't going to be the first one to bring it up, but around here giardia has the charming nickname of "Beaver Fever."

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post #22 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 10:04 PM
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It's supposed to be the elk around here.
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post #23 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 10:57 PM
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It's really carried by anything that will defecate in water...

I grew up in Montana and knew not to drink water that was too far down stream. Only drink from fast flowing water up stream. When I first came down to Los Angeles and learned that giardia was a real problem I could not figure out how and why! Turns out it is related to the coyotes that frequent neighborhoods and parks...as soon as it hits residential areas it explodes because most people don't adhere to doing annual fecal/giardia analysis it just continues its vicious cycle.

I have heard that giardia can live outside of a water source for quite a while...

Haha, beaver fever, I haven't heard it called that since my childhood
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post #24 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melbrod View Post
It's supposed to be the elk around here.
Elk, elk...elk.

Nah, I got nothing that rhymes with elk.

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post #25 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2010, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFawnRising View Post
Elk, elk...elk.

Nah, I got nothing that rhymes with elk.
whelk

Quick definitions (whelk)

▸ noun: large carnivorous marine gastropods of coastal waters and intertidal regions having a strong snail-like shell
▸ noun: large marine snail much used as food in Europe
▸ verb: gather whelk

Now, whutya gonna do with it??
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