Chronic diarrhea in puppies of dogs and cats: Could it be Giardia?
Giardia is a protozoan (single-celled parasite) that lives in the small intestine of dogs and cats found throughout the world. The infection Giardia is called giardiasis .
As Giardia reproduce and how is it spread?
The parasite multiplies by division. A dog is infected by ingesting parasite present in the feed or water or even contaminated feces. In the small intestine the parasite reproduces and after some processing is eliminated in the faeces contaminating the environment and perpetuating the cycle and may infect other animals and people.
What are the signs of an infection caused by Giardia?
Most infections with Giardia are asymptomatic (without symptoms). Clinical signs are more common in puppies and immunocompromised animals (with some weakness of the immune system). The most common symptom is acute diarrhea , intermittent (comes and goes) or even chronic. Usually the infected animals have cramps, they may lose their appetite, lose weight and not rarely vomit. The appearance of stools varies from normal, sometimes with greenish gelatinous mucus or streaks of blood with bad smell and greasy like. In the intestine, Giardia prevents adequate absorption of nutrients, damage the intestinal mucosa interfering with digestion.
Giardia dogs can infect people?
There are many species of Giardia and not yet known whether the G iardia kennels also infects people. Some infections in humans may be related to infections in domestic and wild animals. When in doubt we must consider so that possibility.
The biggest source of infection in humans comes from contaminated water. The contamination of municipal water sources with Giardia is generally attributed to domestic sewage (human). In rural areas, domestic and wild animals can cause contamination of water sources.
How can we diagnose giardiasis?
The diagnosis of giardiasis is very difficult because the protozoa are very small and are shed in the feces intermittently. So in some stool samples can identify them and other samples did not find anything.
To facilitate diagnosis the recommended method is the stool test series (a stool sample every day for three to six days in a row) making it easier to find the body. Another possible test is the ELISA method that uses a very small sample of feces, and may be carried out in 8 minutes in the veterinarian’s office.
It is much more accurate than a fecal exam.
Elisa test for Guardia
How positive or negative test results should be interpreted?
The negative results of stool examination will not always indicate that the animal is not infected, mainly due to elimination of the parasite in feces intermittently. If the result is positive the test, ie, if found the parasite in the stool oh yes we can state that the animal is infected.
In relation to the test ELISA results may instead indicate the presence or absence of the disease. Anyway, negative results may also occur in some infected animals. If a negative test occurs, your veterinarian according to the evaluation of it and presenting symptoms can often suggest repetition or not the test.
If the test is positive or if the animal is suspected of having the disease, how can we treat it?
For it is a positive animal all zoonosis or giardiasis suspect should be treated. Treatment should always be based on the tripod Oral treatment to eliminate the parasite gut, environmental disinfection to eliminate the parasite and the environment Animal cleaning with baths to eliminate the parasite from the skin of the animal and that when recontamina licking. Even if the animal is asymptomatic (does not have symptoms of the disease) it should be treated because it can infect people, young or immunocompromised animals thus avoiding possible transmission to animals and people.
How can I prevent my pet take Giardia?
The cysts can live several weeks to months outside the host in cold moist and shady environments. Thus, lawns, parks, kennels and other moist and sombradas areas contaminated with animal feces can be a source of infection for your pet and even for you. You should keep your pet away from areas contaminated by the feces of other animals . This is not always easy.
Like dogs with Giardia can infect people, all these should be taken care. However, often, not always the pets are responsible for human contamination. It can occur mainly with inadequate hygiene habits and we end up infecting with unwashed food, contaminated water or even by unwashed hands or contaminated with fecal coliforms.
health education and hygiene are fundamental in controlling giardiasis.