Giardia: Testing and Treatment

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What is Giardia?

Giardia is a protozoal parasite that causes diarrhea in pets. It is transmitted through water, soil, or food contaminated with feces (fecal to oral). Your pet’s veterinarian can test for Giardia via fecal analysis.

Can people get Giardia?

Some strains of giardia are transmissible to humans. Consult your doctor if you are concerned you may have giardia.

What happens if my pet tests positive for Giardia?

A technician will notify you that your pet is positive. Your pet will be placed on 2 medications: 1) Panacur for 6 days AND 2) Metronidazole for 10 days. When you pick up the medication for your pet, you will also get a collection kit for a follow-up fecal analysis. The test is paid for at this time as well.

How to treat the environment with a Giardia-positive pet.

Pick up stool each time your pet defecates and wipe their hind end with baby wipes. If your pet has long hair, consider clipping the hair around their rectum to minimize stool getting stuck. Bathe once or twice during treatment. Wash all organic material from premises and then disinfect with diluted bleach (1:32). Launder bedding when bathing (once or twice during treatment). Keep your pet away from puddles, streams, or sources of stagnant water. Consider reducing or eliminating time spent at dog parks, day care, and boarding facilities – most pets we see with giardia partake in these activities. Talk to your veterinarian about treating all pets in the household.

What happens if my pet tests positive after being treated?

Giardia is contracted from the environment so re-infection is possible, making resolution difficult. If your pet tests positive, you will need to repeat treatment until your pet tests negative. A fecal sample to re-test for giardia must be dropped off approximately 25-30 days after completing treatment.