Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Back to results
Enter Your Information All fields are required

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

*Please note: Questions submitted and the answers will appear on our website as a benefit to all pet owners. Please make sure not to include any personal information in the box where you enter your question.

Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Thank you! Your question has been submitted.

You will receive an answer from Dr. Dym and our vet/tech team as soon as possible, usually the same day.

All answers are provided for informational or educational purposes only, and are intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your pet's veterinarian.

It may be necessary to consult your pet's veterinarian regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your pet's symptoms or medical condition.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Oops! Your question has not been submitted.

An error has occurred, please reload the page and try again.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Got questions? Ask Dr. Dym & our Vet Team:

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

Do these answer your question?
Showing of | See All
Have another question, or can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
We're Sorry!

There is no answer related to your question

Can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
Category
Back

What Pet Parents Should Know About Giardia

Have you ever had a vacation ruined when you had to spend the whole time in the bathroom? Giardia is a single-celled parasite that causes giardiasis in people and animals. It’s commonly known as “traveler’s diarrhea” in humans. While the infection is common and usually has a good prognosis, pet parents should know the symptoms, how it’s transmitted, and how to protect pets that are at risk for serious complications.

Where Does Giardia Come From?
Giardia is a single-celled organism that takes up residence in its host’s lower intestines. They produce cysts that the host sheds through their feces, which in turn contaminate their environment. Your pet may pick up the cysts when they walk on contaminated surfaces and lick their paws, or when they drink water from a contaminated puddle or body of water.

What Are The Symptoms of Giardia?
Symptoms of giardia develop about 3 to 10 days after exposure. Diarrhea that’s greasy, mucusy, or oily in appearance is the most prevalent symptom, but you may also notice vomiting, weight loss, poor coat quality, and fatigue. The infected animal will pass cysts that contain the parasite in its stool, but these cysts are not visible to the naked eye.
Your pet may become dehydrated after losing fluids through diarrhea. For older animals, puppies and kittens, and those with a compromised immune system, the infection can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications.
Keep in mind that many pets infected with giardia never develop symptoms, but can still pass the cysts and infect other animals.

How Is Giardia Treated?
If you suspect your pet has giardia, take them to the vet for a fecal test to check for parasites. Upon diagnosis, your vet may prescribe an antibiotic or anti-parasitic drug. Most pets tend to feel better within two weeks.
Chances of getting giardia from your pet are low, but not impossible, as the type that affects pets is not the same as the one that typically affects humans. Always clean up the affected pet’s feces immediately and wash your hands afterwards. Giardia cysts can survive for months on indoor surfaces, in grass, and on your pet’s coat, particularly around their hind end.
You can use household bleach or a specialty cleanser like Nolvasan to kill giardia on surfaces. Give your pet regular baths to remove microscopic cysts that stick to their coat.

Preventing Giardia In Pets
To keep your pet safe from giardia, avoid letting them drink water from unknown sources, including puddles, ponds, streams, lakes, and communal water bowls, particularly at the dog park. Always bring water from home for your pet to drink.
Giardia is common in places that are densely populated with animals, such as shelters, boarding facilities, and kennels. Before bringing a new pet home, take them to your vet for a check-up with a fecal test. You may want to quarantine them if you have other pets.
Lastly, never skip your pet’s yearly checkup. Even if they seem healthy, it’s so important to have that annual exam and fecal test. Your pet’s annual fecal test can detect parasites like giardia even if they are not showing any obvious symptoms of infection.