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.
It's 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 explanation.)
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.
This means, a sick dog is your sign to improve his health.
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.
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 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.
Not too surprisingly, is it isn't always effective and it has side effects. 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.)
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.
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.
Probiotic Eleven (#1510-1) eleven different strains of beneficial bacteria to repopulate the gut and make his immune system strong. My dog and I take these regularly (She thinks they're treats). It's also imperative after antibiotics which kill bacteria needed for digestion and other processes in the body. Do not use this until diarrhea has subsided.
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.
Aloe Vera Juice (Stock #1680-4) soothes the entire intestinal tract. Highly nutritious, it can help build immune function.
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You can purchase these products now or visit my Why NSP? page to see why I only use human products for dogs.
To purchase now simply go to ThreeLittlePittiesNSP and copy and paste the first five into the search box. Once you go to checkout, sign up for free as a member and get the member discount price.
And last but not least, contact me for dosage through my email after your purchase. That's my sneaky way of being able to check on your dog's progress (-;
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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.
Curing your dog of giardia can be done with patience and persistence.