Giardia in Dogs | Treatment and Prognosis
PetWave | Dog & Cat Information

Treatment and Prognosis of Giardia Infection in Dogs

Goals of Treating Giardia

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 eliminated from a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. In other words, the first infection does not provide any immunity or protection against later infections.

The goals of treating giardiasis are to eliminate the shedding of infective cysts, eliminate the symptoms of the illness (diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, etc.), and return the dog to a comfortable, pain-free quality of life.

Treatment Options

The antibiotic drug metronidazole (Flagyl), and the anti-parasitic drug fenbendazole, are among the most frequently-used treatments for giardiasis in dogs. Other de-worming medications are available as well, includeing combinations of febantel, praziquantel and pyrantel pamoate, among others. While these drugs treat the parasitic infection, they also can cause of harmful side effects, such as liver damage. Many veterinarians will not prescribe metronidazole or fenbendazole unless the dog is showing moderate to severe symptoms of giardiasis. Metronidazole can cause physical malformations in developing embryos, so it should not be given to pregnant bitches. The same is true for a related medication, albendazole. Metronidazole also reportedly has a very bitter taste, making it difficult for some owners to administer. Some of these drugs reportedly also can cause acute anorexia, depression and vomiting.


Even with treatment, it is possible that only the cystic form of Giardia has been removed from the feces, while the infective trophozoite form in the dog’s small intestine remains. In other words, fecal tests for Giardia can be negative, but the parasites still can live inside the dog’s gastrointestinal tract, making those dogs a source of potential infection for other animals, and possibly for people. Giardia is rarely deadly in otherwise healthy dogs. Dogs infected with this parasite typically have flu-like symptoms that eventually resolve.

Source: PetWave


Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) in Dogs

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

Motion Sickness in Dogs

Motion Sickness in Dogs: Learn about Motion Sickness, including how it can affect your dog,...

Dog Lice (External Parasites)

Lice in Dogs: Learn about Lice, including how they can affect your dog, and what...

Corneal Ulcer in Dogs

Corneal Ulcers in Dogs: Learn about Corneal Ulcers, including how it can affect your dog,...

Dystocia (Prolonged Birth) in Dogs

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


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

Ask a Vet

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 Adoption | Cat Food & Diet

Advertise on - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

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

© 2015 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.