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GIARDIA IN DOGS

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IF YOUR DOG HAS GIARDIA
CAREFULLY CONSIDER MY ADVICE

Giardia is the most common parasitical disease in the US. I have seen estimates saying that 10% of the World's human population is chronically infected with Giardia. Giardia is extremely contagious.

In this article I am not going to get into the details that you can easily read on Wikipedia. Instead, I am going to focus on how to cure your dog.

The information is based on my experience.

Much of what you will read on the internet on how to cure a dog with Giardia is from people who may not even own a dog, let alone having dealt with an outbreak.
Below I tell the story of how I dealt with an outbreak of Giardia at my kennel. My advice on Giardia will work for your too.


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SOME VETS WILL FAIL TO DIAGNOSE GIARDIA

It all began when I received two new puppies that had a cough. After a couple of days of coughing, I took them to the vet and was told it was kennel cough, and prescribed treatment. When the treatment didn't work, I took the dogs to another Vet. He said the same as the first vet.

About that time, the two new puppies started having diarrhea. Within a week or two, all my dogs had diarrhea. Took the puppies back to both vets along with stool samples.




EVEN WITH STOOL SAMPLES IT IS DIFFICULT TO DETECT GIARDIA

Both vets were at a loss as the samples came back negative. I learned later that samples often come back negative because the parasites are shed intermittently. Both vets simply said, it must be something they ate, give them Pepto-Bismol and they will be fine. (Don't get me started on their incompetence)

The next day I called a new vet, told him what was going on, and I was shocked when he said he wanted stool samples from 10 dogs! I was relieved when he said leave the dogs in their kennels and just bring me the samples!



THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE WITH GIARDIA

If your dog has never had Giardia, you have no idea how bad diarrhea can be! If your dog has had giardia then you know why you don't want to take them for a drive anywhere!

I delivered the samples and a few hours later he called informing me that my dogs had giardia and hookworms. I asked him how to treat the dogs for both giardia and hookworms and he said "frankly I don't know".


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GIARDIA IN DOGS IS VERY DIFFICULT TO TREAT

The Vet indicated he knew how to treat one dog for giardia and hookworms, but with a kennel full of dogs, I would have my work cut out ridding my dogs of giardia and hookworms as the area had been contaminated with both, and the dogs would keep re-infecting each other.

A few hours later the Vet called me back and said that he had contacted Michigan State University which is one of the World leading agricultural collages and he had an information package for me. After reading all of it several times, I knew all there was to know on how to rid a herd of cattle of giardia, but still had no clue on how to treat giardia in dogs.


I decided that if I were to rid my dogs of giardia and hookworms, I needed even more information. Thanks to the power of the internet, I was able over the course of three days of research determine the best approach for treating dogs with giardia and hookworms.


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THIS POPULAR TREATMENT IS NOT EFFECTIVE IN STOPPING GIARDIA

There was a lot of information on HOOKWORM TREATMENT for dogs with a number of reliable treatment alternatives. Treating the dogs would be easy. Getting them out of the contaminated environment would be more difficult.

Interestingly, information on how to treat dogs with GIARDIA was harder to come by. I focused my attention on finding papers written on controlled scientific studies.

METRONIDAZOLE IS ONLY PARTIALLY EFFECTIVE

Many of the papers I found were from studies from the 70's, 80's, and 90's, most of which recommended Metronidazole (Flagyl). Controlled studies showed Metronidazole to be only partially effective with a 75% success rate of ridding GIARDIA in dogs. If those numbers held true, that would mean that 5 of my dogs would continue to infected with Giardia. I knew that with 5 dogs infected with Giardia, they would likely re- infect the others.



SOLUTION FOR CURING GIARDIA IN DOGS!

Finally I came upon a paper published (December 2005) on a controlled study of Giardia in dogs, done in South Korea. While writing this article some years later, I cannot find the same article, only an abstract which you can read here: South Korean Study On Effective Treatment for Giardia in Dogs.
Apparently, they want you to pay for the info. In any event, I outline the info below. The study involved hundreds of dogs infected with Giardia and did a great job of detailing what was most effective.
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FENBENDAZOLE MOST EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR GIARDIA IN DOGS

Imagine my delight when I read that Fenbendazole (the same treatment I was already using for intestinal worms) was far and away the best treatment for Giardia. After considering all the information I had studied on Giardia, I decided on a treatment regiment with Fenbendazole.


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FOLLOW THIS PLAN TO CURE GIARDIA IN DOGS

Fenbendazole is the active ingredient in Safe-Guard and Panacure, both which are formulated for homeowner treatment of parasites in dogs including Giardia.

Most kennels do not use Fenbendazole packaged for home use, but instead use Fenbendazole for livestock, as it is much cheaper. This is the exact Safeguard Wormer that many kennels use and I used to treat Giardia.

Because a dog's digestion tract is much shorter than many animals, the medicine used to kill Giardia passes through the tract faster, therefore, a more powerful dose is needed than what is on the label when used for livestock.

A MORE RIGOROUS TREATMENT OF FENBENDAZOLE IS REQUIRED FOR GIARDIA THAN FOR WORMS

The correct dose when treating for intestinal parasites such as hookworms and Giardia is 1 cc per 5 pounds of body weight. Therefore a 50 lb. dog would need 10 cc. This is generally given 3 days in a row for treatment of intestinal worms. But a more rigorous treatment is needed for Giardia. I decided on a 5 day regiment of Fenbendazole followed by another 5 day regiment two weeks later. At the end of the treatment, I was happy to see no more signs of Giardia.


THIS IS A CHEAP BUT EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR GIARDIA

While preparing this information, I was surprised to see how many vets are still recommending Metronidazole for treating Giardia. Fenbendazole is not only more effective in eliminating Giardia, Fenbendazole also has a wider safety margin and can even be administered to pregnant dogs were Metronidazole cannot.

The fact that Fenbendazole is today's treatment of choice for Giardia is mentioned in an article on Metronidazole in Wikipedia where it says:

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Metronidazole is not labeled for animal use but is widely used to treat infections of Giardia in dogs, cats, and other companion animals, although it does not reliably clear infection with this organism and is being supplanted by Fenbendazole for this purpose in dogs and cats.


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CLEAN GIARDIA FROM THE ENVIRONMENT TO PROTECT DOGS

Administering the Fenbendazole was only half the battle, in fact, that was the easy part. You have to make sure the environment has been completely decontaminated to prevent Giardia from re-infecting the dogs. This is much harder to do.

Giardia cysts that are shed in the dogs stool is very hardy and can survive in the environment for months. When you have 20 dogs running around a kennel, the cyst are going to be tracked everywhere.

LOTS OF CHLORINE IS NEEDED TO KILL GIARDIA

Thankfully, my entire kennel is either cement or pea gravel and I was able to spray everything with chlorine numerous times! Additionally, each time a dog was let out of a kennel and went to the bathroom, I immediately sprayed the area with chlorine. Then I would thoroughly wash the dog with a mixture of chlorine to make sure that no Giardia cysts clung to the dog's coat or on a paw. If a dog walked from his kennel to the play yard and I thought there was any chance he may have a Giardia cysts on him, I mopped with chlorine his entire path, before letting out another dog. After a month of 12 hour days, the Giardia infection came to an end, and I have not had a problem with Giardia since!


WHEN DOGS HAVE HAD GIARDIA THEY MUST BE NURSED BACK TO HEALTH

Once Giardia is eliminated, your dogs will need immediate attention to return to health. I cannot stress enough the importance of the next steps I am going to outline.

Giardia can completely destroy a dog's digestive system. Many dog owners report that their dogs have digestion problems for life because of an Giardia infection.
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RESTORE YOUR DOG'S DIGESTIVE SYSTEM AFTER A BOUT OF GIARDIA

Many people will spend thousands of dollars on veterinarian test and treatments only to see their dog suffer with frequent or occasional bouts of loose stool due to the dogs past experience with Giardia. It is essential that the moment you have finished treating your dogs for Giardia, you put your dog on the medications to restore their digestive system. You will want to carefully read this article on how to RESTORE YOUR DOGS DIGESTIVE SYSTEM AFTER A BOUT OF GIARDIA
Make sure you read it!


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