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Can't get rid of Giardia

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Can't get rid of Giardia
  •  Both my dogs have giardia. Ribbon (4 months) was initially given panacur for 2 wks plus Strongid once every 4 wks. Buddy (3yrs) was given 2 weeks of panacur. After 2 wks they retested positive again. They were both put back on panacur for another 2 wks along with an antibiotic (mezo something). So yesterday the vet called and they still are positive. The vet said to redo the panacur.

    He explained because of the mild winter that there is a bit of an outbreak of giardia and the dogs are being reinfected and it is extremely difficult to get the rid of. So at this point in the conversation I came to the conclusion that treatment may never end. I asked him what was the risk to my dogs if they cannot be successfully treated? Will they develop long term intestinal problems? Could they die? He said giardia causes soft stools. 

    I thanked him but said I was not going to continue with panacur until or unless the dogs developed the runs. 

    First question is, is there any point in continuing the panacur? Second is there something I can give them that will help with or prevent soft stools? At he moment Buddy's stools are normal. Ribbon's are not as hard but are well formed.

  •  How much Panacur was given?  When I got Nikon, his breeder sent me home with a 5 day double-dose of Panacur.  I don't know if the dogs had something or it was just a precaution (he was fine), but she did tell me that her treatment for giardia is double-dosing Panacur.

  • Giardia can be the devil to get rid of -- and a lot of things are becoming resistant to strongid. 

    The biggest risk is the fact that this causes inflammation -- long term inflammation in the intestinal tract DOES have some pretty nasty side effects.  Any time you get organ-type tissue that is inflamed long term you get dysfunction that is permanent.  So it's not something you just want to not treat.

     HOWEVER -- that said -- wasn't it you who was less than thrilled about how the vet was charging for testing that hadn't been done?  (no accusation there -- just trying to remember) -- I'm wondering how come the vet called you and said "problem" when you hadn't taken them in to be tested??  or did I misunderstand.but how recent is this sample?

    I'm stumbling over you not wanting to treat unless you see soft stool -- so why'd you take them in if there was no soft stool (unless this was that "you will RE-TEST on ___" stuff)

    Giardia is typically gonna cause soft stool -- like as in "UGH MAKE IT STOP"  So if you're not showing any sign of it?   I'm wondering how they think they have giardia?

     see - I"m not saying this well -- but USUALLY the problem is the reverse -- you got MEGA soft stool and no one can find nuffin!!  And here, you got ok stool and they're TELLING you that you have giardia?

     That would unsettle me.  Big time


  • Denise, this is a pretty good source on parasites and has pretty detailed info on Giardia.   You can try adding some canned pumpkin to Ribbon's food to help with the soft stools.   Just a teaspoon or two once a day might help. 


     We do need some pictures of Ribbon since it's been quite some time since we saw him. :)


  •  Thanks for your replies. Ribbon was getting 3/4 tsp (Granulals) of panacur x2/day. Buddy - 1 1/2 tsp.

     To clarify Callie. I took Ribbon in for her last series of shots on Monday. I also took in a stool sample. So it was tested Monday and was positive for Giardia.  I hear what you are saying about the inflammation. I specifically asked the vet about long term risks and he said there weren't any???? I have done a bit of reading on Giardia and it said that many dogs carry the parasite with no symptoms or treatment. That is why it is quite often transferred to pups at birth from a seemingly parasite free mother. So now you have a different opinion so you have added to my confusion. LOL!

    The reason I am reluctant to treat is it takes 2 wks to ensure you have killed both the cyst and the eggs. As long as they are being reinfected the problem will not be resolved whether they are on the meds or not.  She could be picking up a new Giardia parasite everyday.  Do I give her panacur for 4 months, six months? My thinking is until the parasite is gone from the environment the meds are pointless. If I cannot get rid of the parasite I can at least try to treat the symptoms - ie inflammation.

    ...and yes it was me who was complaining about the vet. 

  •  Thanks for the link Jackie. I owe pictures!!!

  • It would be scary to think it's just there in your yard or home all the time. Sure dogs CAN be symptomless for long stretches BUT...if your dogs go to parks or visit...there is chance there of them picking up something ELSE which would normally be no big deal like KC...and THEN in swoops the Giardia on a immunocompromised dog and BLAM! ya know? That would worry me. The fact that it would always be there waiting for a time the dog was down...to flare. I am not sure ANYTHING, can be done about that. The vicious cycle of the parasite being present, being eradicated, then picked up again...would drive me to drink. I wish I had more advice :(
  • Nikon's breeder gave him (and a bunch of dogs) a giardia vaccine.  I didn't really care for it one way or the other but she had a bunch of it so she gave him one.  Not sure how common the vaccine is or if it helps...

  •  I found this information on a Colorado Animal Hospital website.


    How is Giardiasis treated?

    The drug commonly used to treat Giardia is metronidazole.  Metronidazole is an antibiotic but is also effective again Giardia which is not a bacterium.  The drug is given for 8 days.  Just with any medication, there could be possible side effects.  The possible side effects for metronidazole are: anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, and ataxia (uncoordinated walking).  If you see any of these signs, stop the medication and call your veterinarian immediately.  These side effects are rare, but can occur.  Some veterinarians will use a drug called Panacur to treat giardia.  Please discuss treatment with your veterinarian.  There is no medication that is 100% effective at getting rid of all the giardia organisms in the intestinal tract.  The medication is to reduce the number of organisms in the intestinal tract so that the animal no longer has diarrhea.  We recommend brining in another stool sample at the end of the treatment period to see if any giardia organisms are seen.  If some giardia is seen under the microscope, but the animal has normal stool after treatment, most veterinarians will not retreat the animal.  The goal of treatment is to stop the diarrhea associated with giardiasis

  •  It could be in my yard although I make sure I pick-up right away as dogs can become infected by inhaling the parasite. But it could be anywhere that a dog has eliminated. They can even become infected by sniffing another dog. The vet said he has never seen as many cases as this year. I haven't read anywhere that Giardia would surpress the immune system. I'll have to have another look. I have the impression that asymptomatic Giardia is rather benign. Most dogs have it and no one even knows. But they can pass it on. - I have to go do some more reading!

  • This is what the "Great Dane Lady" has to say about giardia:

    "I can NOT emphasize enough that giardia tests rarely find this parasite, because the cyst cycle of this organism it is next to impossible to find. I tell my puppy buyers to forget the testing and just go ahead and worm with Panacur under the guidence of their vet. Right now, it is the only thing working with success, but it has to be used twice.

    My vet suggests that one worm for a 7 days with Panacur (based on body weight)- mix in a little canned dog meat, then put on kibble, then worm again with Panacure in another 2 weeks (for 7 more days), and they MUST be on a probiotic at the same time. (updated info 2/2/2011)."

    Note:  Safe-Guard is an OTC product with the same ingredient as Panacur.

  • My old OM at the vertinary clinic that I worked at purchased a sheltie from one of the southern states ( we live in Ohio ) and he came to her with Giardia.   She had a mess on her hands for a long time.  Several times she thought it was gone...and all of a sudder massive diarrhea again.  This went on for quite some time...she was so frustrated and in the end she was in tears.   She is not a big vaccine person...very careful about what she gives him or lets him have, but in the end she got him the Giardia vaccines during one the bouts of diarrhea...and never saw it again after that. Coincindence?  Probably!  But.........

  • My dog is a mini-Australian Shepherd 20 months old. She was showing signs of being sick around the beginning of June. Stool was softer. We went on vacation on the 7th of June for 10 days and she progressively got worse.  We started her on beef and rice after a couple days. By the end of the 10 days she had diarrhea, vomiting and was very tired and lethargic. We had her stool (very yellow) and blood samples taken to the vet and tested 12 days after getting back from our trip. They didnt find anything. But put her on anti-biotics anyways. She has been on chicken and rice since seeing the vet and giving her Pepcid which seems to have stopped the vomiting.Her stool goes back and forth between extremely soft and semi-firm. Should I have her stool retested at this point?

  • Tamara W, I would.