Giardia Infection in Dogs

Definition of Giardia

Giardiasis, sometimes called “beaver fever,” is the disease caused by infection with tiny parasites that live in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of most mammals, including dogs and humans. These parasites are called giardia. They also infect birds. Giardia are found world-wide. Dogs become infected by ingesting contaminated water, food or feces. While infection with giardia is common, disease is not. Some dogs never show signs of discomfort, while others show mild to moderate signs of abdominal pain. Young puppies and dogs with weak immune systems can have severe reactions to the parasites, including appetite loss, diarrhea, weight loss, tiredness, dehydration, weakness, bloody or pale-colored, greasy, strong-smelling stools and sometimes death. Giardia pose a risk to immune-compromised people, including the elderly, newborns, pregnant women and people with cancer, AIDS or other serious diseases. Regular veterinary check-ups, including fecal examinations, can usually identify giardia infections. These examinations are especially important at the end of summer, after the hot season.

Causes and Prevention of Giardia Infection in Dogs

Giardia are found world-wide. They have what is known as a direct life cycle. Dogs become infected when they ingest the cyst (interchangeably called the “oocyst”) form of this parasite by drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, licking contaminated fur or otherwise coming into contact with contaminated feces in the environment. The cysts lodge in the upper part of the dog’s small intestine, called the duodenum. There, each cyst produces several motile larvae, known as

Symptoms and Signs of Giardia Infection in Dogs

Many dogs infected with Giardia have a latent or subclinical infection, which means that they really don’t show any noticeable symptoms of illness. However, the parasites eventually damage the lining of the intestines of the animals that they infect, disrupting digestion and using up nutrients that the animals need for normal health. The effects of Giardia are most pronounced in young dogs, old dogs and those with impaired immune systems. The profuse diarrhea that frequently

Diagnosing Giardia Infection in Dogs

The disease caused by infection with Giardia is not difficult for veterinarians to diagnose. Examination of a dog’s feces can reveal the trophozoite and/or cyst forms of the organism. Giardia can also be identified through more advanced, specialized tests. Most veterinarians evaluating a dog with diarrhea, abdominal pain and other signs of gastrointestinal upset will take a blood sample and perform a complete blood count and a serum biochemistry panel. They will also probably take

Treatment and Prognosis of Giardia Infection in Dogs

Giardia is treatable, usually on an outpatient basis. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of treatment is evaluated based on the presence or absence of cysts in the affected dog’s feces, which does not necessarily equate with whether the parasites are present inside of the dog. A dog can remain internally infected, without shedding the cyst form of the organism at the time the fecal sample is taken. In addition, infection can recur after the parasite is initially

Source: PetWave

MATCHING TOPICS OF INTEREST

Got a Mess? Learn About Dog Vomiting

Vomiting in Dogs: Learn about Vomiting, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Infertility in Male Dogs

Infertility in Male Dogs: Learn about Infertility in Male Dogs, including how it can affect...

Dog Ringworm Infection

Ringworm in Dogs: Learn about Ringworm, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Retinal Detachment in Dogs

Retinal Detachment in Dogs: Learn about Retinal Detachment, including how it can affect your dog,...

Gastritis in Dogs

Gastritis in Dogs: Learn about Gastritis, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

PETWAVE: POPULAR TOPICS

Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Nutrition | Cat Nutrition

Advertise on petwave.com - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of Petwave.com on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Email Friend about Petwave.com Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2014 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.