Giardia is a single-celled microscopic parasite that lives in your dog’s intestine. It is classified as an intestinal infection cause by the parasite Giardia Iamblia. The infection commonly infects older dogs, but more frequently infects young puppies.
Eww! How do dogs get Giardia?
Dogs develop the infection by ingesting the offspring of Giardia that are shed in another animal’s feces. Dogs become infected when they accidentally swallow the water source, or by eating something that has been contaminated by feces, like grass. Since dogs love to put things in their mouths, this means that there are plenty of ways your dog can pick up the parasite in his environment. Whether it is by chewing on a stick, eating someone else’s poop, or drinking from a puddle.
How will Giardia affect my dog?
Giardia in dogs does not always cause problems, but when it does it is highly unpleasant. Giardiasis, the disease caused by the Giardia infection, typically results in diarrhea. The parasite inhibits your dog’s ability to properly absorb nutrient, water, and electrolytes, which leads to weight loss, poor conditions, and even can lead to death. If you have concerns about your dog after spending a fun weekend at the beach, contact your Veterinarian to schedule an appointment.
Treatment is simple once diagnosed. This is one of the many reasons why fecal parasite screening is so important, along with semi-annual Veterinary exams for your pet. If your pet was diagnosed with Giardia, or any other type of intestinal parasite, be sure to clean up after them as soon as possible. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands as well after handling their stool. Preventative care is always the best way to avoid parasites and diseases!
By: Kimberly Delaney