Dogs can get Giardia infections and pass them onto other dogs or people through their feces. Knowing how dogs might become infected can help you keep your pets safe and seek treatment promptly if needed. Learn more about how dogs end up with Giardia infections.
Giardia occurs in two different forms. One form is a feeding form inside the intestines, while the other form is a cyst form. Dogs that swallow the cyst form of this organism become infected. The cyst form passes through a dog’s feces, then survives in surrounding environments, such as animal shelters and dog kennels. Dogs can end up swallowing these cysts when they drink contaminated water or lick contaminated surfaces. These cysts can also infect dogs when they sniff contaminated surfaces. Dogs are more likely to become infected with Giardia when they are in places where a lot of dogs are present, since this can mean that there are higher amounts of cysts in the environment.
Giardia doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms or active infections. In some dogs, the presence of Giardia is not accompanied by diarrhea or other symptoms. In younger dogs, older dogs or dogs with compromised immune systems, Giardia can cause active infections that become serious and require prompt care. It’s important to know what to look for, so you can make sure that your pet gets care if it’s needed.
Symptoms of Giardia
If your dog displays any signs of an active Giardia infection, such as diarrhea or vomiting, you should make an appointment with your vet. This helps ensure that your dog receives proper care to reduce the risk of a serious illness. Knowing that your dog has Giardia also means that you can make sure you disinfect your home to prevent this illness from spreading to you or other family members.
Your vet can diagnose Giardia by running a fecal test to check for the presence of cysts. If your pet has giardiasis, or a Giardia infection, you can discuss treatment options. Your dog should recover without any problems with the right care.