Diagnosing Giardia in Dogs

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.

Here's Banjo feeling much better and playing with a friend, now that his Giardia is gone. He's the one looking at the camera.

Symptoms of Giardia in Dogs

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:

  •  recurring diarrhea, mild to severe
  •  explosive diarrhea
  • soft, light colored, greasy looking stools
  •  gassy
  •  weight loss
  •  loss of appetite
  • eating, but still losing weight
  • dehydration
  • listlessness and fatigue
  • mucus in the stool
  • nausea and vomiting

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.

Diagnosing Giardia in Dogs
and Why Testing Sometimes Fails

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?

› Diagnosing Giardia in Dogs

Other pages in the Giardia Series

Giardiasis, Know Thy Enemy

How Contagious is Giardia

IBD and Giardia

Herbs vs Drugs (whats the difference?)

Healthy Dogs Heal Faster

Giardia in Puppies (and how it's treated a bit differently)

Important Notice

I sell NSP (Nature's Sunshine) herbs and supplements for your dog. While these are strictly tested and made for human consumption, I am the only one in the United States successfully using them for dogs for over a decade now.

To get proper doses for your dog you must purchase through me. I've spent a great deal of time learning the right combinations and doses per weight for your canine kid.