Q:

What is giardia?

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Quick Answer

Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes an illness called giardiasis. Giardia is one of the main causes of diarrhea in the United States. Infection occurs when the parasites are ingested in contaminated water or food or via person-to-person contact.

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What is giardia?
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Full Answer

In addition to diarrhea, symptoms of giardiasis include nausea, vomiting, cramps, abdominal distension and copious amounts of intestinal gas. Loss of appetite and low-grade fever are other possible symptoms. People who develop this condition often get better within a few weeks without treatment, but for those with severe or persistent symptoms, antibiotics are prescribed. Those treated with medication normally recover within a week.

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    What are the symptoms of giardiasis?

    A:

    Symptoms of giardiasis include diarrhea, flatulence or gas, upset stomach, dehydration and stomach cramps, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic lists fatigue, belching with a bad taste and foul smelling stools that alternate between diarrhea and soft, greasy stools as symptoms.

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    How does a veterinarian diagnose Giardia in dogs?

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    A veterinarian can diagnose Giardia in dogs by performing a zinc sulfate fecal flotation test on a dog's feces, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. However, sometimes these parasites can even be seen by analyzing a direct smear of the dog's stool.

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