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The Giardia Parasite in Dogs: What You Need To Know

Pet Care Tips 3 min read
The Giardia Parasite in Dogs: What You Need To Know

Giardia can be transmitted to humans as well as our Fury friends, but let’s talk about our pet’s shall we!

What is Giardia?

Giardia is a simple one-celled parasitic species that inhibits the intestines of mammals, amphibians, and birds. For your dog to be infected, your pet has to ingest the parasite to get Giardia.

Where is Giardia found?

Giardia can be found in many different variables including, drinking contaminated water, eating infected feces or something else that has been contaminated, like grass, or simply chewing on a stick. As any pet parent knows, dogs love playing and putting everything in their mouths and this means that there are plenty of ways for your pet to pick up this parasite in their environment.

What are the signs and symptoms of Giardia?

The parasite leads to the inability of your dog to properly absorb nutrients, water, and electrolytes.

The Giardia symptoms in dogs can vary and can be asymptomatic but generally, it causes diarrhea and weight loss. The parasite leads to the inability of your dog to properly absorb nutrients, water, and electrolytes. Diarrhea can be intermittent or on a regular basis. It can be presented with mild or explosive diarrhea, soft stools with mucus, and can have a very foul smell to it. Puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with a compromised immune system are particularly susceptible to this parasite and a failure to have this properly diagnosed and treated can, in rare cases, cause death.

Gardia in dogs

This is what Giardia looks like under a microscope, they might look cute but these little guys can cause havoc for your dogs or cats.

How is Giardia tested?

Generally, testing for Giardia requires a fecal sample that can be done right at the Veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, because Giardia is an elusive parasite (hard to find and identify), the cysts are shed only intermittently from the gastrointestinal tract of an infected pet. A single fecal sample has only a 70 percent chance of detecting an infection. Having a fecal done within 3 consecutive days increases the chance of detection to greater than 90 percent. There are other tests such as the giardia ELISA that can be used with a routine fecal sample to increase the likelihood of a diagnosis to about 95 percent.

Using an Holistic Integrative Approach To Helping Giardia

Your vet may prescribe pharmaceuticals to help rid your pet’s body of Giardia. Since pharmaceuticals can be hard on a pet’s system (gi issues, depression, lethargy, and anorexia), it’s always a good idea to use natural, nutritive supplements to provide extra support to the body’s needs.

How can NHV products help with Giardia?

Inulin-PK is a gentle but effective herbal formulation that helps rid the body of parasites like Giardia. It contains a blend of nutritive, anti-inflammatory herbs that also help protect the liver and soothe the gastrointestinal tract as well as help boost immunity. Inulin-PK can be used 3 times a year as a natural preventative parasite cleanse.

Plantaeris: One of the main symptoms of Giardia is diarrhea and gastro upset. Plantaeris helps reduce discomfort and spasm of the digestive tract and helps maintain normal bowel function. It has soothing properties to help with the discomfort associated with diarrhea and excessive gas within the digestive tract. This herbal formula exhibits a broad spectrum of antibiotic activity and helps block the adherence of microorganisms to the host.

Stimmune is a herbal formula that supports the immune system and is especially important when you are treating any kind of parasite. The immune system can become compromised when your pet is dealing with parasites and our herbal supplement, stimmune, will boost your pet’s immune system as well as providing overall strength to the body to fight infections.  It also offers defense against microorganisms and has antiparasitic support to the body as a whole.

Milk Thistle extract is very beneficial for pets undergoing an integrative approach to helping with Giardia. In fact, NHV Pet Experts highly recommend using Milk Thistle when using any pharmaceuticals, as Milk Thistle helps detoxify the body and protect the liver.

Need Extra Support?

Do you think your pet may have Giardia or some other parasite? Please contact our NHV Pet Experts via online chat, email, or on our social media for any questions.

NHV Pet Experts

NHV Pet Experts

We have a dedicated group of pet expert professionals, including veterinarians, vet techs, and other pet professionals to guide you through any questions. We’re committed to your pet’s wellness and can offer additional tips, resources, nutritional advice, and more.

Published: September 29, 2017

2 replies

  1. Jacinda Markowitch says:

    Can I give my dog milk thistle that I use?

    1. Team NHV says:

      Hi Jacinda,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to us on our blog.

      That’s a really good question! While herbs, like milk thistle, can be really beneficial to us humans, it’s absolutely vital that if we decide to give herbal remedies to our pets, that the dosage of the herbs is formulated to be safe for pets to use. Sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing.

      Here’s a blog we have that talks about why human-grade herbal supplements may not always be the best choice for our little ones:

      If you’re looking to give your pup milk thistle, our Milk Thistle supplement is in liquid form and is specifically formulated for pets! Here’s more information for you:

      Our whole team is sending you lots of love, please feel free to reach out if you have any more questions!

      Yours in wellness,
      Team NHV

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