I was asked earlier today if I had any information on Giardia and, as I always do when I’m asked a direct question, I like to share my answer on the page in case it comes in handy for anyone else too.
I haven’t done an actual blog on it but in short:
Giardia is a parasite (not a worm, not a virus and not a bacteria) that can be contracted by drinking infected water or by sniffing stool from an infected dog.
It can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, though this is not always the case as many dogs can just be transient carriers with no symptoms.
If the dog does have diarrhoea, this can range from a soft stool to watery, with blood and slime, and there maybe a greenish tinge to it.
It is most dangerous for dogs with compromised immune systems, geriatric dogs and very young puppies. In these cases it can be very serious indeed and can even cause death.
Most prevalent and likely to be contracted in dense highly concentrated areas such as kennels for example.
Diagnosis of this parasite is with a stool sample by the vet.
Treatment is with oral drugs such as Metronidazole and usually with a good outcome.
The dog should be retested 2-4 weeks after completing the full course of medication.
Giardia can be transmitted from dog to human so care with hygiene must be taken.
After effects on the immune system can be long lasting in dogs with already compromised systems.