Giardiasis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

One of the most common parasitic diseases in dogs is giardiasis. Pathogensare the simplest single — celled Giardiacanis microorganisms. Infection occurs through the oral cavity, where Giardia penetrate and settle in the upper parts of the small intestine, causing serious damage to health. Pathology is contagious for both animals and humans.

Causes of the disease

The mechanism of infection is as follows. Entering the body along with infected food or water, parasites are attached to the intestinal mucosa by microscopic villi located on the front of the body. Only cysts survive in the external environment.

For example, in stagnant water, they remain active for up to 90 days, in feces — from 2 to 24 days (depending on the ambient temperature).

After entering the animal’s body, the hard shell of the cysts splits, and the trophocytes (embryos) located in them come out. Parasitizing the intestinal walls, they damage the mucosa, and toxic metabolic products spread at a great speed to all organs and systems.

Infection with Giardia causes the intestinal walls to thin, allowing antigens to enter the body and cause severe allergic reactions. In addition, the digestive process and metabolism are disrupted, affecting not only the intestines, but also the liver and pancreas.

The disease can be diagnosed in absolutely any dog, regardless of gender, age and breed affiliation. The risk group includes, first of all, elderly and weakened animals.


Giardiasis does not have a pronounced clinical picture, so it is difficult to diagnose it. Often the disease is asymptomatic and is detected accidentally.

You can suspect pathology by the following signs:

  • diarrhea of an episodic nature, which is replaced by normal stool;
  • vomiting;
  • the decrease of activity, lethargy, irritability;
  • flatulence.

The above symptoms appear only in 1/3 of the total number of infected dogs. Often the owners confuse them with mild poisoning and are in no hurry to contact the veterinarian.

As the disease develops in Pets, the symptoms become more characteristic, but, nevertheless, it can be mistaken for an allergic reaction or pathology of the gastrointestinal tract.

Suggest the idea of giardiasis in a dog should:

  • constipation, alternating with diarrhea, while in the feces there is no mucus and blood;
  • exhaustion with a good appetite;
  • skin rashes;
  • dull hair, alopecia;
  • unpleasant smell from the mouth, belching;
  • conjunctivitis;
  • pain in the abdomen;
  • otitis media;
  • cracks on the lips.

Severe stage giardiasis is rarely diagnosed. As a rule, the pathology proceeds in a sluggish form and does not affect the animal’s well-being.

Diagnostics in the veterinary clinic

To make a diagnosis, the veterinarian will need to examine the animal, collect anamnesis and conduct the necessary instrumental studies.

Diagnostic measures include, first of all, intestinal endoscopy. It reveals the degree of damage: damage, uniformity or lack of integrity of the intestinal walls.

Fecal tests and a swab taken from the anal opening should be examined. The smear is taken several times, since a single analysis does not allow you to confirm or refute the diagnosis.

To obtain more accurate results, the method of enzyme immunoassay, immunochromatic test, and polymerase chain reaction are used.

Treatment method and prognosis

There is no effective medicine that destroys Giardia. The fact is that the cysts are reliably protected by a hard impenetrable shell, which can not be destroyed by any chemical preparation.

The most effective drug, most often prescribed for giardiasis, is Metronidazole (analogues — Clion, Metrogil). The course of treatment is 5 days. The patient is given tablets twice a day (morning and evening) along with food. The dosage is set by the doctor, usually 22 mg per kilogram of weight.

However, if the dog has already been treated with Metronidazole for some pathology, the therapy will not be effective. Animals do not have a very good tolerance of this drug. There may be side effects such as lethargy, irritability. Often dogs refuse to eat. In such cases, it is advisable to replace the drug, but the veterinarian should prescribe a new medicine based on the condition of the pet.

Another popular drug in giardiasis Albendazole (analogs — Worm, Algazel, Nematol). It has a more gentle effect and is prescribed even for puppies. Reception twice — 25 mg per 1 kg of weight.

In recent years, veterinarians have used Ornidazole (an analog of Tinidazole that has less effectiveness), which successfully replaces Metronidazole. It refers to human drugs, the treatment regimen is made individually for each specific case. The advantage is that it has fewer contraindications and side effects.

Treatment options with Macmiror (analog — Enterofuril), which gives a minimum of unpleasant consequences for the body, can also be considered.

Good results are given by Panakur, which is produced in the form of powders, from which therapeutic solutions are made. It is not only effective, but also practically does not give side effects.

To restore microflora Pets are assigned to probiotics, for example, Linhexi, Procolon.

Treatment can be considered complete only after the fecal analysis shows the absence of Giardia. If the parasites are found again, therapy continues.

The disease responds well to treatment, so doctors give a favorable prognosis.

What to do at home

The most important thing that the owner of a sick dog should understand is not to self — medicate in any case and strictly follow the instructions of the veterinarian. Folk methods in the fight against parasites are ineffective.

It is very important to prevent re-infection, so very great importance is attached to timely disinfection. The room where the pet is kept should be periodically treated with a solution of bleach. Care items and toy bowls should be washed with hot water and thoroughly dried.

Carpets for the period of treatment should be removed, but before that they are treated with a steam cleaner and dried. The ideal option is dry cleaning. Dog bedding is soaked in hot water, washed and dried.

Giardiasis is contagious, so until full recovery, the patient should not come into contact with other animals living in the house. After visiting the toilet, you need to bathe the dog using detergent.

The disease is also dangerous for people, and therefore washing hands after each care for a four-legged pet becomes a mandatory procedure.

Possible complications

Parasites that live in the intestines feed on substances that enter the body. Consequently, their body itself does not receive vital vitamins, micro-and macroelements. This may well provoke immunodeficiency, which, in turn, causes various pathologies.

The most common complications of giardiasis are failures in the gastrointestinal tract, flatulence, stool disorders, allergic dermatitis, anemia, biliary dyskinesia, cholelithiasis.

Prevention measures

Preventive measures that prevent giardiasis include the following areas:

  1. Increased immunity. Strong dogs that receive the necessary amount of vitamins not only get sick less often, but also more easily tolerate the disease.
  2. Prevention of swimming in polluted reservoirs, contact with stray individuals, samovygula.
  3. Ban on drinking water from dirty sources, eating food from the ground.
  4. Conduct hygiene procedures after each outing — the washing of the feet (if the dog is home).
  5. Maintaining the cleanliness of the room where the four-legged pet is kept.
  6. Quarterly deworming.
  7. Timely inspections at the veterinary clinic.

If you suspect your dog has giardiasis, you should not postpone a visit to the veterinarian, because the sooner treatment is started, the higher the chances of a full recovery.