Our Veterinarians in Seattle explain the importance of providing the recommended Giardia parasite treatment
Spike’s story is not an uncommon one. He has been a happy and healthy puppy growing up and getting a lot of socialization at daycare, puppy classes, and visits with friends.
Spike’s fecal parasite screens have revealed a fairly consistent problem with Giardia. Giardia is a microscopic protozoal parasite of the gut that is passed through fecal-oral transmission. The most common source for Giardia is puddles and standing water, especially where wildlife or other dogs have been. Giardia can be very tough to kill, not only in the dog but in the environment. Exposure can occur many places, from dog parks and puddles to the dew on the grass.
Sometimes dogs get very sick from Giardia. The can have severe vomiting and diarrhea. At other times they are completely normal and still test positive. Our Seattle veterinarians definitely recommend treatment if a dog is symptomatic for Giardia. If they are not symptomatic with normal stool they are still a risk for transmitting the disease to other animals but treatment does not always stop the shedding of the organism. The treatment for giardia is a powder called Panacur or Fenbendazole sprinkled on their food every day for a total of 6 days. This can be a very frustrating parasite because it is so prevalent in the Seattle area where it is wet so much of the year. Even when we think we have cured a dog of giardia they can be easily re-infected!
While it is possible to get giardia from your dog it is very unlikely. It is more likely that people will contract the organism from the same spot the dog got it. We still recommend being careful when handling your dog’s stool and bathing them at the beginning and end of treatment if they are positive for giardia.