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Giardia in Pets and What You Need to Know

Giardia has to be ingested by your dog in order for him to get the parasite. They can get Giardia by drinking water that has been contaminated by feces or by eating something that has been contaminated by feces, like grass.

Once the parasite is in your dog’s intestines, your dog can spread the parasite, even if he doesn’t show any signs of infection. This is worrisome, especially if you have more than one pet in your household. While transmission from dogs to cats and cats to dogs is unlikely, the transmission from dog to dog is certainly a cause for concern.

The parasite inhibits your dog’s ability to properly absorb nutrients, water, and electrolytes, which leads to diarrhea and weight loss. Diarrhea can be intermittent or continual, especially in puppies, and failure to diagnose and treat the disease can lead to severe weight loss and even death in extreme cases. The disease is particularly dangerous for puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems.

The best way to determine whether your dog has Giardia or another condition is to call your vet. However, there are several symptoms of Giardia in dogs that dog owners should be aware of. These symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Weight loss

  • Failure to gain weight

  • Vomiting

  • Dehydration

  • Poor coat appearance

What about your family and little humans? Luckily, the odds of humans being infected with Giardia from dogs is relatively low, although it can happen. The most common symptom is diarrhea and the treatment is typically antibiotics.

If your pet has continued diarrhea, as always, you should contact your vet! To learn more about common parasites in dogs here:


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