Pronounced jee-ARE-dee-ya, it’s not a worm, bacteria, or virus—just a simple, one-celled parasite that can make your pet (and you) feel terrible.
It’s also pretty common. While infected pets may not show symptoms right away, giardia can cause persistent diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, gas, and vomiting—and can sometimes be difficult to clear.
How does your pet get giardia? By doing what they love to do: rolling in contaminated soil or feces and then licking themselves, or drinking from contaminated creeks, puddles, and random bodies of water.
While there are no drugs to prevent giardia, it can usually be easily treated with a few days of medication. If your pet becomes dehydrated or severely ill, additional treatments or a modified diet may be needed.
The other important thing to remember is that this parasite is zoonotic—meaning it can be transmitted from animals to people, although it’s rare for that to happen. However, it’s highly contagious to other pets in the household. That’s why if you have an infected pet, you should make sure to disinfect bowls, toys, bedding, litter boxes, crates, and other pet items regularly until your pet is recovered. Have questions about giardia or have a pet with symptoms? Just give us a call at (802) 985-2525.