What is Giardia?
Giardia are parasites that cause infection in the digestive system (intestines), called giardiasis. The infection presents as watery diarrhoea, passing gas and a generally uncomfortable stomach. Your pet (usually mammals like dogs and cats) may also have a decreased appetite and lack interest in food.
How is Giardia spread?
The egg of the giardia parasite – or cyst – can be picked up through contaminated food, water, soil, or by physical contact with an infected individual or their waste (faeces). Once it reaches the digestive system, the cyst hatches into a single-celled trophozoite, which lives and reproduces in the small intestine.
While giardiasis is more likely in areas of poor sanitation, it can still be transmitted in wet and humid environments.
How is Giardia treated?
Giardiasis can be difficult to diagnose initially, as the symptoms can be quite general and vary in severity and timeframe. Some infections can pass on their own, however it is always worth giving your vet team a call for correct diagnosis.
This treatment may include examining a faecal sample to test for the presence of giardia, followed by antibiotics and a repeat test to ensure all traces of bacteria have been cleared. Aftercare may also include bland food to support healing the
Your vet will go through these treatment and aftercare options with you following a diagnosis.
Can I be infected from my pet?
Yes! It is very important to maintain good personal hygiene around our pets as we can transmit infections back and forth – even if they do not appear sick. If your pet has been diagnosed with, or is suspected to be infected with giardiasis, remember to wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling any of their waste products.
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