Would you laugh if I told you diagnosing giardia in dogs is a crap shoot?
Aside from the poop reference which I did think was sorta funny, let's look at both symptoms and testing.
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.
I know it's ugly to look at diarrhea but let's get clinical so I can show you what came out of my own dog and what it told me. (Aside from the fact that she never poops in the house.)
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 looks like jelly and the blood showing says 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.
Giardia testing is done with a fecal sample but neither the protozoa or the cysts are expelled through the feces on a constant basis so the tests can be negative.
A case in point is one of my clients I'll call Ann. Ann emailed me after buying my protocol and told me her dog had been having horrible diarrhea with mucus, but when the vet did the testing it came up negative.Her vet shrugged his shoulders and they agreed the test results were wrong.
In order to get a better picture once you think your dog no longer has giardia, there must have at least 3 negative test results in a row spaced 5 weeks apart.
Because diagnosing giardia in dogs is unreliable, it's best to stay on the protocol long past the symptoms disappearing. Besides, since they help the body, what do you have to lose?
Other pages in the Giardia Series
Giardiasis, Know Thy Enemy
Herbs vs Drugs (whats the difference?)
Giardia in Puppies (and how it's treated a bit differently)