Let's talk about symptoms, testing and treatment options for giardia in dogs. Neither standard testing or treatment always work for this dog diarrhea causing protozoa.
What is giardia anyway?
Like all my pages here at three-little-pitties I'll be as simple and straight forward as possible.
a one celled protozoa which is ingested in the cyst stage and travels
to the intestines where it sets up camp. (see, a not so scientific
It lives and feeds in the intestines causing inflammation and 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. And the harder it is to get rid of any parasite without further damaging the immune system.
As always, a sick dog is your sign to improve his health so let's look at symptoms, treatment options and their side effects shall we?
It's hard to diagnose giardia in dogs for a couple reasons. Since the symptoms of giardia are not unique and aren't necessarily constant, a dog can have it for years without discovery. How can that be?
Here are the symptoms:
What's even more frustrating is the testing may often come back negative when it shouldn't. Since 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.)
At the bottom of this page I have pictures of giardia diarrhea and explain how damaging it can be.
The most commonly used drug is Metronidazole (Flagyl). Drugs.com says it's an antibiotic yet Wikipedia says its an antibiotic/antiprotozoa. All I know is that giardia is not bacteria, it's a protozoa. I also believe if it worked I wouldn't be helping so many people who have put their dog through the Flagyl treatment two, three or four times already.
And then there are the side effects of the drug. Some of them are scary.
I 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. Especially when I know natural
healing methods to cure giardia in dogs without any side effects (unless
you want to count improved health.)
Note that the drugs used for giardia do nothing to aid the damage in the gut.
Oh my goodness yes! In fact I learned first hand just how easy it is because my Lulu got it. Here's how it happened.
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 about quality as in purity and potency.
Here are my recommendations. It takes all six of these and a bit of patience. I know because I've held a lot of hands over this one as well as watching my own dog go through it. End result? A healthier, happier dog.
Liquid Silver Shield (Stock # 4280-5) - a powerful natural anti-pathogen which also reduces inflammation. Take on an empty stomach.
Black Walnut (Stock # 90-8) - natural anti-parasitic used internally to help get rid of many kinds of worms, amoebas, protozoa and fungus. If you have a small dog you may choose the liquid concentrated form of Black Walnut (#l755-7)
Echinacea & Goldenseal (Stock #835-2)- antimicrobial and infection fighting herbs for the gastrointestinal tract
Intestinal Soothe and Build (#1106-2) Especially if your dog has had giardia for some time, this will soothe the damaged intestinal wall and encourage new cell growth for faster recovery.
Liver Cleanse (#1010-3) is a blend of herbs and nutrients specially formulated to nourish and protect the liver to support its natural cleansing functions. (Note: the liver performs 500 daily functions & both Metronidazole (Flagyl) & Fenbendazole (Panacur) which may be prescribed with it can potentially cause liver damage.
NutriBiome Bacillus Coagulans Probiotics (# 6109-3 ) - An excellent way to help reset the intestinal microbes. Most probiotics used when diarrhea is present, tend to create more diarrhea. This heat tolerant strain is perfect for giardia in dogs because it helps stop the diarrhea while doing the job of repopulating the gut.
Dandelion (Stock# 250-4) - this common garden weed has a long history of use as a liver and kidney remedy. It is high in potassium, a mineral that is easily lost with diarrhea.
If your dog has been diagnosed with giardia; if your dog has been through the Metronidazole (Flagyl) one, twice or three times and the giardia is still present, you can purchase the six items listed above at ThreeLittlePittiesNSP. On the home page of that website simply leave me a message as to what products you've purchased along with the weight, breed and age of your dog and I'll email you with the doses.
Shopping NSP is a breeze. Simply copy and paste the product in the search box, put it in your shopping cart and copy and paste the next item etc.
Get a Discount: Be sure to sign up as member at checkout (it's free to join) and you will automatically get the same discount I do.
If you wonder why I'm so adamant about Nature's Sunshine products, click over to my Why NSP? page to see why I only use these human products for dogs.
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Note: by the way Black Walnut combined with one other herb prevents other internal parasites including heartworm without any toxic side effects.
All but one of the people I've helped cure their dog of Giardia have given the drug protocol more than once to their dog before they contacted me.
The time range of infection has ranged from 2 months to 2 years before they used this natural approach and finally won the battle. Just remember, curing your dog of giardia can be done with patience and persistence.
Since giardia in dogs made a visit to my house, I took pictures of what I came home to so I could explain what it means. Ready? It's ugly and scary. These are all from the same episode. As you can see it got progressively worse as her bowels emptied.
I call this pudding diarrhea. The shine is from mucus which tells us there is inflammation in the gut. With that swelling, nutrients cannot be absorbed.
You can clearly see the mucus and the blood showing I have a very sick dog who will get sicker if I continue to feed her without a fast and some herbs to help.
This last little bit tells me she strained to go at the end even though she was on empty. The bright red blood in the mucus means it happened near the exit point.
Meaning the blood is from the bowel and not the intestine. I have my work cut out for me.