Let's talk about symptoms, testing and treatment options for giardia in dogs. Standard protocol isn't a sure cure for this sneaky protozoa and may cause liver damage.
What is giardia anyway?
It's a one celled protozoa which is ingested in the cyst stage and travels to the intestines where it sets up camp. (Scientific explanation.)
It lives and feeds in the intestines where it reproduces by splitting. It also exits through dog poop in the cyst stage. (I know, I never seem to use the word feces.)
As with all parasites, the less healthy the dog, the better conditions for them to feed and reproduce.
This means, a sick dog is your sign to improve his health.
It's hard to diagnose giardia in dogs for a couple reasons.
First because the symptoms are not unique and aren't necessarily constant.
Here are the symptoms:
The second reason it's hard to diagnose is that the protozoa are not expelled through the feces (see, I did it right this time) on a constant basis so you must take a stool sample to the vet at least three times in a ten day period and kind of cross your fingers. (Yup, more science.)
The most commonly used drug is an antibiotic which is specifically anti protozoal. The name is Metronidazole (Flagyl) This drug can be used alone or in combination with another similar drug.
The problem is it isn't always effective and it has side effects. Some of them are scary. Here are a few. I actually took these from the human side effects list because how would we know if our dogs were experiencing some of these things? Of course your dog may not show signs of side effects but personally I won't give my dogs anything that might cause seizures.
A Natural Approach for Curing Giardia in Dogs
Okay, now we're in my territory. I love herbs and natural healing. As a heads up for you, I only recommend Nature's Sunshine products but there is a very good reason and it's not about money. (See Why NSP?)
Here are my recommendations.
Aloe Vera Juice (Stock #1680-4) soothes the entire intestinal tract. Highly nutritious, it can help build immune function.
For very sick dogs or canines who won't take food with capsules there is a liquid form of Black Walnut Extract (Stock #1755-7), which by the way Black Walnut also cures other internal parasites and works as a heartworm preventative as well. Dosage is 3 drops per 25 pounds of dog weight.
You can purchase these products now but please visit my Why NSP? page first because it explains how to get a discount and there is a link to Natures Sunshine on that page. (It also opens in a new window so you don't lose product numbers and get exasperated.)
If you are already a member, just click on the Silver Shield benefits list in the right column.
And last but not least, contact me for dosage through my email. That's my sneaky way of being able to check on your dog's progress (-;