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we will only sell high quality dog products. We pride ouselves in providing high quality products at an affordable price.
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Fighting Giardia

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Fighting Giardia
Understanding and managing this common parasite should be a priority for pet owners that want to keep the puppies and dogs healthy.

Fighting Giardia

Giardia is a parasite that inhabits the small intestine of animals and humans. It is the most common intestinal parasite found in humans in the U.S., and it occurs in ani­mals, including pets.

Learning about this common parasite can help pet owner understand and con­trol it so they can keep their puppies and dogs healthy and their home Giardia free.

Giardia is a protozoan that occurs in two developmental stages.

The trophozoite is the motile stage that occurs in the intestine.

The cyst is the stage passed in the stool, which is responsible for the transmission and sur­vival of Giardia in the environment.

The lifecycle is simple.

Trophozoites cause clinical symptoms while living in the intestine, become cysts, and are then passed in the stool. The cysts, which can survive long periods of time in cool, moist conditions, are ingested by a new host and become new trophozoites.

The complete lifecycle can occur in as little as five to eight days.

Giardia is thought to cause clinical signs by altering the cells in the intes­tine and decreasing the ability to absorb nutrients. This can result in diarrhea and possible weight loss. Not all individuals are affected in the same manner, and adults are often resistant to clinical signs. Accurate diagnosis of Giardia can be difficult.

The most definitive means is by finding either form (trophozoites orcysts) in the feces. A veterinarian can perform a direct fecal smear (looking at a thin smear of the feces directly under a microscope) or the zinc sulfate concentration technique (a lab process that concentrates the cysts, making them easier to find and identify).

Commercial ELISA test kits (SNAP) are available, but do not seem to offer any advantages over the zinc sulfate technique. In addition, the ELISA test has the disadvantage of continuing to give a positive result for up to two weeks after successful treatment and removal of the parasite.

Therapy is accomplished using one of two drugs.

Fenbendazole (Panacur) is considered to be 95 percent effective in eliminating the parasite.

Metronidazole is considered to be about 65 percent effective. However, it may occasionally have undesirable side effects (neurologic signs, anorexia, vomiting).

Several areas should be focused on to control this parasite


Cysts survive well in a cool, moist environment. Therefore, this type of environment must be regu­larly decontaminated by steam or chemical cleaning after thorough phys­ical cleaning, followed by an adequate drying period. The best strategy is to not tolerate this type of environment in your home.


Animals can easily reinfect themselves by grooming fecal material that adhered to their coats, so thorough bathing is important.

Once exposed or re-exposed, an animal may pass cysts within five days, so it is important to pre­vent reintroduction of the parasite.


A com­mercial killed vaccine is available. It aids in pre­venting clinical disease and reducing cyst shed­ding, but does not totally prevent the infection. It can be used in puppies eight weeks of age and older, but requires a booster two to four weeks later to be effective.


Many Giardia cases are caused by drinking unfiltered municipal water (chlorination does not eliminate it) originating from contaminat­ed lakes or rivers.

Daycare facilities also tend to have a high risk for infection.

There is scant direct evidence link­ing human infections with pets, nevertheless, caution should always be exer­cised in handling positive animals.