Porky and Buddy Pet Health – What Is Giardia?

Porky and Buddy

Dear Porky and Buddy,
Oh gross, I just got home from the vet with my six-month-old puppy, Bozo.

I took him in because he had diarrhea and the vet says he has giardia and gave me some medication.

What is giardia? How could he have gotten it? Am I likely to get it from him? What should I do to prevent him from getting it again?

Help, please!

Dear Jon,
Giardia is a weird microscopic parasite that is found throughout the world.

It can be a tough little bugger to control because it actually has a sort of shell.

That means it can survive on its own in the environment for much longer than other common parasites.

The type that infects dogs is not the same as the one that usually infects humans so your chances of getting it from Bozo are slim.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful when you are cleaning up after him.

Wear gloves, dispose of his waste in plastic bags in the trash, wash your hands thoroughly after handling him.

In all likelihood, Bozo drank some water from a puddle or stream somewhere and got it there.

Giardia is very common in the environment.

As he gets older he will probably develop some resistance to it, but for now, in addition to following your vet’s instructions carefully with his medication, try to make sure that he has access to fresh clean water and limit his access to possibly contaminated water sources.

In order to prevent reinfection from his own water you should change his bowl or bowls every single day.

Wash and dry the bowls.  Leave them dry for at least a day and switch with other bowls that have been dry for at least a day.

Do the same with any outdoor bowls.

The day of drying will kill any lingering giardia on the surface.

Do the same with his bedding and toys.

Clean them in whatever way is appropriate but try to let them dry for as long as possible after cleaning and switch them up if possible.

Giardia can be a pins in the you know what, but it will eventually go away.

Don’t hesitate to call your vet if his symptoms don’t appear to be getting better soon.

When Bozo is all  better, don’t forget to sign him up for Every Dog Has Its Day, on September 27 at Fallbrook Recreation Center, 103 Thompson Road.

It’s the 10th Annual 5K-9 Race and 1-Mile Family Walk and Pets and People Celebration, with registration starting at 11 a.m.

You can find out more and sign up online at www.oswegohumane.org

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Located at 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other