Giardia – these are tiny unicellular organisms that attack the dog’s intestines. But how do you know if your dog has giardia? Why are Giardia symptoms not reliable? We give tips.
Giardia Symptoms in the Dog
Especially puppies, young animals, or dogs with a weakened immune system show symptoms when they are infected with Giardia. These include:
- yellowish, slimy feces;
- diarrhea – often light, slimy, and strong-smelling;
- weight loss in spite of unchanged appetite;
- rarely: flatulence;
- rarely: vomiting;
- rare: loss of appetite.
These symptoms may subside and flare up again after a few days or weeks.
This makes it difficult to see connections. A dog may be treated with an antibiotic and probiotics, or home remedies for diarrhea and symptoms to improve. If the symptoms reappear weeks later, many owners see no connection. Giardia symptoms can be very similar to a worm infestation. However, in contrast to worms, flagellates are more difficult to control.
Giardia Infestation in Dogs Without Symptoms
The tricky thing about Giardia: healthy animals in their prime show no symptoms.
It is estimated that one in five dogs is infected. As a result, they can become permanent excretors of the parasites. These animals infect other dogs and, in rare cases, cats and humans with giardia. Do you have a dog who likes to drink from puddles and pools and who sticks his nose into everything? Then this four-legged friend belongs to the risk group. It is quite possible that he has giardia without you noticing. The animal can only appear increasingly weakened if it is heavily infested over a long period of time.
Giardia Diagnosis at the Vet
Anyone who thinks that their own four-legged friend could be infested with Giardia should talk to the vet about it. At the latest when the dog emits yellowish, slimy feces, you should arrange for fecal samples. The vet usually instructs you to collect feces three days in a row to confirm the result. Because dogs do not excrete Giardia cysts with every feces. If the result is positive, the veterinarian can prescribe therapy using tablets or paste. Be sure to adhere to the duration and dosage to avoid reinfection. Unfortunately, Giardia cysts in the area can survive for weeks and months under favorable conditions.
Consistent hygiene measures help to prevent re-infection.
Giardia Symptoms in Humans
Giardia belongs to the zoonoses, i.e. to the diseases that can pass from dogs to humans. An infestation in humans must be reported. Children who come into contact with animal feces and then hold their mouths or noses are, particularly at risk. It leads to slimy diarrhea, which can be bloody. Vomiting and – in the further course – emaciation are also possible. In children, an unnoticed Giardia infestation can lead to stunted growth and serious symptoms of deficiency.
Infection via the dog is unlikely, however, because other Giardia strains cavort in the dog.
Over half of the Giardia infestations can be traced back to infections. Unclean drinking water is the most important source of infection here.