Dogs with Giardia infection sometimes have no symptoms, but they can still spread this illness through their feces. When dogs do have symptoms, they often show up in the form of diarrhea that can be watery or have a small amount of blood in it. Dogs might also have vomiting, weight loss and dehydration with this infection. If your dogs are showing signs of infection, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment through your vet.
Tests for Giardia
Vets run fecal tests to determine if dogs have any Giardia cysts in their feces. This can be done through special fecal flotation tests. In some cases, vets can diagnose a Giardia infection by examining a direct fecal smear for antigens. When you bring your dog to the vet for diagnosis, you should discuss any symptoms that have been present. Vets can also diagnose this infection based on clinical signs.
Treatment for Giardia
Vets typically prescribe medication to treat giardiasis, or a Giardia infection. These medications are usually taken for up to ten days in order to fully treat an infection. If dogs have dehydration caused by diarrhea, they might require other forms of treatment to prevent complications. Vets sometimes will also recommend temporary dietary changes to help make stool firmer. Dogs that have a Giardia infection need to see a vet two to four weeks after finishing treatment in order to be tested again. This helps ensure that the infection is completely gone.
Outlook for Giardia
Most dogs recover from a Giardia infection without experiencing any difficulties or complications. Dogs that are seniors or those with underlying health conditions have a higher risk of complications that could become life-threatening.
Making sure your dog has plenty of clean, fresh water can lower the risk of having a Giardia infection. Picking up feces right away also helps prevent the spread of this infection. If your dog needs to board, choose a facility that thoroughly cleans and disinfects, which goes a long way toward reducing the risk of Giardia infections.