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Giardiasis is an intestinal disease of people, dogs, cats and other animals. It is caused by a microorganism called Giardia, which is swallowed when the animal eats contaminated stool, food or water. Giardia principally infects the upper small intestine. Infected individuals pass the infectious cysts in their stool, and the cycle begins again.
Diagnosis may be difficult; therefore, repeated microscopic examinations of multiple stool samples are often needed to find the cysts.
The most common sign of infection is persistent diarrhea with
pale, greasy and occasionally blood-tinged stool. Giardia prevents
proper absorption of nutrients, damages the delicate intestinal
lining, and interferes with digestion.
Public Health Significance
Giardia is a relatively common intestinal parasite in people. Good personal hygiene should be practiced in homes where giardiasis has been diagnosed in a pet. Your pet's stool should be cleaned up and properly disposed of. Children should not be allowed to handle the stool.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Laboratory tests are often required to evaluate the patient's response during and after treatment.
2. Sun exposure and drying help eliminate Giardia from your yard.
3. Give all medication as directed. Call the doctor if you
cannot give the medication.
Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur:
* Your pet's diarrhea persists.
* Your pet's general health worsens.
___A stool sample is requested.