Giardia in Dogs
What is Gardia
Giardia refers to Giardiasis which is a name given to the state in which a dog gets after getting infected with a Giardia parasite. It is a short term to the particular parasite that causes Giardia in dogs. Similar to many parasitic infections Giardia is also typified as a living organism that survives through the infiltration in the system of a dog. It does so to survive inside the dog. The reaction to this characteristic of the parasite the dogs experience adverse health conditions and accordingly symptoms are evident.
The main reason of Giardia in dogs in due to a Protozoa that enters the dog’s body usually through drinking of pond, stream or unfiltered water. Though not recognizable in the early stages, symptoms begin to show as the Protozoa starts to multiply and absorb the nutrients entering the body hindering the dog’s body from benefiting from it. Nutrients are stopped from being absorbed in the body and the most common of symptoms is diarrhea. Diarrhea in Giardia is accompanied with a foul odor and mucus present in the stool. As Giardia progresses the dog loses weight and acts lethargic. Giardia can be treated through prescribed medicines and a speedy recovery can be made possible through the use of herbal remedies.
As mentioned before the main cause of Giardia is drinking from ponds or streams as they contain traces of animal feces. These contain small sacs or cysts who when enter the dog’s gastrointestinal tracts it begins to create problems.
These cysts further change to Protozoa and multiply rapidly; they attach themselves to the small intestines of the dog and feed on the vital nutrients depriving the dog from them. The Protozoa not only feed on the nutrients rather they also excrete harmful substances that damage the intestine of the dog and if left untreated it can damage the small intestines linings and can also result in scaring.
Giardia is also often referred to as the Beaver fever as beavers are the most known and common carriers of Protozoa. Not only in dogs but even in humans it is a known Protozoa.
Another similar kind of parasite is the coccidian, it too affects the intestinal tracts of the dog but unlike Protozoa which infects through stream water coccidiosis is received through directly consuming animal feces.
Initially Giardia in dogs is not dangerous to a dog’s health but if left untreated it can develop into a serious situation. The main danger is malnutrition since Giardia organisms survive through feeding on the nutrients received through diet to the dog your dog suffers from lack of nutrition resulting in serious health issues including weight loss. Also many dogs experience getting severely dehydrated after getting exposed to Giardia.
Since Giardia is responsible for interfering with the nutrients absorption in the body the body is left deprived and apparent losing of weight and low energy in dogs is experienced.
There are also cases where giardisis in dogs carry no symptoms not even diarrhea. Dog diarrhea is characterized by bad odor and watery texture and it may occur in a bad situation or light one. Also this diarrhea can occur frequently or with timings far apart.
Giardia parasite has a one to a couple of week’s incubation period. Since many dogs are naturally asymptomatic they tend to release cysts for months even sometimes for years. In young aged dogs clinical symptoms can be easily seen as compared to grownups and also they are easily diagnosable in multi-dogs environment or houses.
In case your dogs develops large number of trophozoites began to form in the dog’s body, the symptoms that develop are
- Weight loss in dogs
- Bad odor stool, with often a foamy or yellowish texture
- Distension in the abdomen
The detection of these cysts in the dog can be diagnosed through Zinc Sulphate solution or Fecal flotation. These cysts may not be present or detected in the dog’s stool or diarrhea. Active trophozoites may be found through fecal smears. Trophozoites can be seen in motion in diarrhea whereas cysts can be seen in hard stools. To diagnose at least three samples of stools taken over a period of 7 to 10 days to exactly diagnose.
Another way to diagnose Giardia in dogs is through ELIZA which is a test that can be performed either in your vet’s office or sent to a laboratory for testing.