Giardiasis, sometimes called "beaver fever," is an intestinal infection caused by the giardia parasite. It can affect many mammals including dogs and humans.
The offspring (cysts) of this parasite are shed in animal feces.
The most common method of infection is waterborne because the parasite
prefers a cool, moist environment. Giardia can survive in these
conditions for up to several months. Dogs may also become infected by
ingesting fecal material that contains cysts.
Giardiasis is more common among young animals and those confined in groups, such as in kennels or boarding facilities.
Some infected dogs never show signs or will spontaneously
experience indications of giardiasis months after becoming infected.
Puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems can experience more severe
reactions to infection.
Diarrhea - Large populations of giardia may line the intestines and prevent the absorption of food, causing diarrhea.
Other signs include abdominal pain, weight loss, weakness, lethargy and appetite loss.
This condition is diagnosed by your veterinarian by analyzing the
dog's feces. There may not be cysts present in every stool which can
make giardiasis difficult to diagnose.
Giardiasis can be treated by administering medication
(antibiotics and/or antiparasitic drugs) in the comfort of your own
home. Only in cases of severe dehydration would the dog need to be
It is also recommended to disinfect kennel areas and bathe infected dogs
to remove all potentially infected fecal matter.
Because giardia can affect humans, it is very important to sanitize and wash hands after coming in contact with fecal matter.