How can you tell whether your dog is infected with Giardia?


Quick Answer

The CDC lists the common symptoms of Giardia in dogs as diarrhea, gas, abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting, but it cautions that not all infected dogs display symptoms. Official diagnosis and treatment must be prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. There are no over-the-counter treatments available.

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Full Answer

The CDC does not believe that there is substantial risk of acquiring Giardia from dogs or cats, but it suggests cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces, washing hands frequently and wearing gloves to minimize the chance of infection. Clean any surface that may have come into contact with a dog's feces, including the carpet, furniture and toys. Giardia transfers through infected feces, soil and water, with higher infection rates among puppies than adult dogs.

The CDC strongly suggests waiting for a veterinarian's approval before allowing an uninfected animal to enter a contaminated environment or come into contact with an infected animal. Depending on the temperature, Giardia can last in the soil from one to seven weeks. A veterinarian may put all animals in a household on antibiotics to prevent them from spreading Giardia regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms.

To prevent Giardia, keep the dog's coat clean, and shampoo it regularly to remove fecal residue. Wash bowls regularly with soap and water, and limit pets' access to unclean water.

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