Giardia Report

While farm land fertilization with animal and human feces continues, so does the fight against giardia in canines. Giardia is injested. Once a person or animal has been infected with Giardia, the parasite lives in the intestine and is passed in feces. Because the parasite is protected by an outer shell, it can survive outside the body and in the environment for long periods of time (i.e., months)and in extreme temperatures (ie. -13degrees celcius)

Giardia infection can cause a variety of intestinal signs or symptoms, which include

* Diarrhea or bloody stool
* Gas or flatulence
* Greasy stools that tend to float
* Stomach or abdominal cramps
* Upset stomach or nausea

These symptoms may lead to weight loss and dehydration.

It is caused by a microorganism called Giardia. Animals and people can be infected by consuming food or water that is contaminated with Giardia cysts. Once in the gastrointestinal tract, the cysts transform into highly motile protozoa and divide rapidly. They then attach to cells of the upper small intestine in massive numbers, where they produce disease by blocking absorption, competing for nutrients, and producing toxic substances. Giardia can severely damage the cellular lining of the small intestine to the point of producing permanent scarring.

Metronidazole is usually the drug of choice for treating giarddia, but some veterinarians prefer to treat it with Panacur. In stubborn cases, your vet may treat with one and then the other. Both methods are effective, as long as you keep a close watch, making sure the antibiotic or wormer is working.

Remember, In puppies, a loose, diarrhea stool can be a sign of worms, giardia or coccidia. A simple (fresh) stool same taken into your veterinarians will save you the price of an office call and most vets will just prescribe whatever you need from the sample - provided they have seen your puppy previously.