is a protozoan; tiny, one-celled parasitic life forms, with the potential
to cause serious illness. Cysts (the inactive form) are passed into the environment
when an infected dog defecates and are found in contaminated water and fecal
matter. Once ingested, the cysts open and discharge the mobile form known
as the trophozoite. Direct contact can also result in contamination, especially
with dogs that are shedding the cyst but show no signs. Try and keep your
pet away from stagnant water sources by providing fresh water at frequent
Am I at risk for Giardia?
Giardia is a zoonotic condition, zoonotic to mean that it infects several
species of animals, including humans. Due to the zoonotic properties of Giardia,
proper sanitation is important when caring for your dogs. Pet owners should
always wash their hands after cleaning dog runs or removing feces from yards;
babies and toddlers should be kept away from animal waste in general but
particularly waste from any dog with diarrhea. Infected yards should be thoroughly
disinfected; ammonia and bleach are effective decontamination agents.
What are the signs of Giardia?
Active Giardia interferes with the absorption of food and in some dogs
produces feces that are soft, oftentimes light-colored, and greasy with or
without flatulence, while other dogs present with acute (sudden) explosive
How can I find out if my dog has Giardia?
Cysts, the inactive form of Giardia, are shed intermittently in the stool,
thus they are often times missed using standard testing methods. The laboratory
enlisted by Sunrise Pet Clinic uses the ELISA technology for fecal testing;
this test is more sensitive as it detects Giardia proteins found in the feces.
Having cysts in the environment can trigger an outbreak in people as well
as their pets, therefore Sunrise Pet Clinic recommends annual fecal checks
as part of your pets routine health screening. A fresh fecal sample, of sufficient
quantity, will be sent to the lab with results in 24-48 hours.
The ELISA test is positive for Giardia, now what?
There are several treatment plans, which your veterinarian will provide
for you. Both are effective and will be based on your pets age, weight and
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