Some dogs have finicky digestive systems, including bouts of Dog Diarrhea. It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. If a variety of factors, from emotional upset to a change in diet have been treated and have not led to an improvement, Dog Giardia should not be ruled out.
Giardia is a parasite, but there is much debate about which types can affect dogs. Even so, an experienced vet can diagnose and treat the condition.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of this condition can be very vague in the beginning. Complicating the issue is the fact that some dogs with Giardia may otherwise appear perfectly healthy. Infected dogs can pass this on to other canines that may not be so lucky and suffer more from the symptoms. The predominant symptom is severe diarrhea which may also include general lethargy. Dogs may start losing weight for no apparent reason. Oily and foul smelling stools are a red flag for possible Giardia.
Dog owners may have to be patient while their dogs undergo possible tests for Giardia. One problem is that the parasite may not show up on a single stool sample, even if the dog is truly infected. This means that owners need to collect several stool samples, not a pleasant process, but one that can result in a firm diagnosis of Giardia. The vet or clinical specialist can then look for Giardia through a microscope and if the stool contains the parasite, it will clearly be seen. At that point, it is time to start treatment for dog Giardia.
The only setback is if the technician can’t see the dog Giardia parasite. A negative result does not put dogs in the clear. They still could have this condition. But in a best case situation, the problem will be diagnosed properly and then treated.
When it comes to treatment, each veterinarian may prefer a different option. Debate reigns about the best ways to handle canine Giardia. Some say that dogs without a clear diagnosis of Giardia should be treated. Other vets disagree. If a dog undergoes treatment, there are medications which can be taken, including Fendbendazole, a drug which will handle all sorts of other worms that could be in the dog. Metronidazole is another option but it has potentially serious side effects and is not guaranteed to work, having a limited success rate, curing no more than 70 percent of treated dogs. Fact is, there is no treatment option that is 100 percent effective against canine Giardia.
Because treatment options may have limited success, it is difficult to provide a clear prognosis for dogs with Giardia. However, since the majority of those treated may see a significant reduction in symptoms, this is a good prognosis. The best case scenario may be to limit Giardia and keep it from spreading through kennels, passing the condition on to other dogs. If pregnant dogs mingle with infected dogs, consult a vet as many medications can hurt the unborn pups.
Any carpeting, rugs or fabric used on the floor of kennels should be promptly discarded. If the animal has dog beds, they should be replaced. Once there are only solid surfaces left in the rooms where dogs lived and moved about, it is time to use a special solution, often obtained from the vet, to kill any Giardia parasites living on the surfaces. These chemicals need to be used very, very carefully. Never put a dog back in a recently cleaned room until the dog has been thoroughly cleaned as well.