One of the most common health problems that virtually all animals will suffer from at some point in their lives is a parasite infestation.
Giardiasis is an intestinal infection in humans and animals, caused by a protozoan parasite Giardia duodenalis. Giardia is a common, curable parasite that lingers in a puppy’s digestive tract – it affects nearly 50% of puppies.
The most common symptom of Giardia is loose stool mixed with mucus and blood. Typically it’s lighter colored or pale. Another sign is a swollen belly, caused by bloat. If your puppy has a hard time eating or drinking this could be caused by Giardia. On the other hand, some puppies won’t display any symptoms. If you suspect any changes in your puppies digestion, it’s a good idea to take him/her for a vet check. Your vet will run a fecal sample and check for any parasites and worms in your puppies stool. After getting tested it’s always a good idea to retest after 4-6 weeks to make sure the parasite is 100% gone.
Puppies normally get this parasite by drinking contaminated water from puddles or streams. They can also get Giardia by eating feces of other animals. Left untreated, Giardia can cause problems in your puppies digestive tract, puppy bloat and malnutrition from depletion of nutrients caused by the parasite.
When puppies come in contact with infected water or animal feces they are put at risk for contracting Giardia. One of the main reasons puppies are susceptible to Giardia is simply because puppies tend to eat their or other litter mates stool. They can also contract it by drinking rain or puddle water. Once the puppy is infected, the protozoa divides in their intestine, causing destruction in their intestine.
You can prevent this parasite by keeping your yard clean of animal feces. If you have any unsanitary water sources in your yard make sure they are out of reach from your puppy. Restrict your puppy from drinking rain water on walks or in your backyard.
To prevent from future occurrences of Giardia, wash all dog bedding with hot water and laundry detergent. The more you keep your puppy’s area clean, you’re proactively preventing Giardia.
Giardia also commonly occurs in kennels and boarding facilities where the disease spreads rapidly due to the crowded conditions. So, don’t board your dog until your dog it’s about a year old.
The first step in puppy treatment of Giardia is to take him/her to the vet for a fecal sample. Your vet will most likely run other test to see if there are other parasites or worms infecting your puppy. Sometimes a stool test will come out negative when your puppy actually has Giardia, this is due to the fact of how microscopic Giardia is. Since Giardia isn’t always detected on a fecal test it’s important to retest in 4-6 weeks.
The most common drugs used to kill Giardia are fenbendazole and metronidazole. These drugs are normally given for three to ten days to treat giardiasis.
In addition to taking your puppy to the vet for treatment, we have recommendations for parasite infections.
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