Giardia

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.

Giardia

Postby JB » Thu Jul 08, 2004 10:13 am

HOLY CRAP I HATE THIS F'ING PARASITE!

My wife and I got out little mutt from an animal rescue type thing that we found through petfinder. When we got her (9 weeks old I think) she was really loafy and super skinny. After taking her to the vet for the first time he told us that she had giardia and cocidia (sp?). So we treated her and got rid of the coccidia. The giardia was supposedly gone, but a couple weeks later she had the runs again and she tested positive for giardia again. More drugs, more samples, more trips to the vet.... then she tested positive for it again... and on and on and on. It's been really annoying. So annoying that I switched vets because of it. I basically lost confidence in my vet because every time she'd test positive I'd get a message on my machine saying the same thing "sugar has tested positive for something called giardia. Don't worry too much, giardia is a common parasite... blah blah blah". I seriously got three of those messages. I felt like slapping the guy. Ummm... why don't you look at the dog's history before you call and recommend a treatment you dink!

She was treated with both flagyl and panacur. Both seem to have been ineffective.... or at best partially effective. I really can't say that she's ever FULLY been giardia free. It's notoriously difficult to test for, and her stool has always varied between soft and softer. She's always been able to hold it and she's always gone twice a day... so it's real hard for us to decide whether to take her to the vet or not. She's also a pretty active dog.

The new vet gave us Drontal Plus. One and a half pills, once a day for three days. Last night was her last dose and it seems to be working already. I've also noticed that my dog's energy is up... which I find a little scary because she's a fairly athletic mutt to begin with.

Who else has dealt with giardia? Was you experience similar to mine? What meds did you use and for how long? How long did it take for your dog to get fully back to normal?

Also. Has anyone tried the giardia vaccine. I'm thinking that either my dog never truly got rid of the parasite through all her treatment, or she's very sensitive to it.... so my vet and I have been talking about giving the vaccine a try. Any opinions?
JB
 

Postby BabyReba » Thu Jul 08, 2004 10:57 am

Ghiardia and coccidia suck, but ghiardia is by far harder to get rid of in my experience. My old foster pup Juice almost died of coccidia before we got her into rescue--she was a skinny little mess. But it cleared up pretty easily.

Every dog I've gotten from the Baltimore City shelter so far has had ghiardia, and it seems like it never goes away. But eventually it does, I promise! I now get Drontal and metronidizole from my vet to treat it. I give the Drontal short term (usually just a couple of doses) then 10 days straight of metronidazole even if the dog seems to be improving. During that time, the dog also gets a very bland diet--boiled burger or chicken (white meat is best though pricey), yogurt, and a bit of boiled rice. Use the rice sparingly though--it tends to not digest well, especially in dogs with colitis and inflamed bowels.

During the time the dog has the parasite, resist the temptation to give raw--during this time, I've found, the dog is most susceptible to other bacterial infections of the gut and I really have had horrible experiences giving raw anything to dogs who already have intestinal issues. Don't give any treats like rawhide, pig's ears, cow ears, either--they'll make it worse and if they have bacteria in them, it'll attack the dog's digestive system too.

Very often ghiardia does come back. I had one dog who was on and off with it for almost 2 months, but finally we kicked it by just doing the same regimen over and over a few times.

They key is to get as much nutrients into the dog as you can, build the immune system, and hope the drugs can help the dog's body overcome the parasite. It's a bitch, and it sucks to see a dog going through so much bowel distress for so long, but in my experience, it does eventually clear up! Never tried the vaccine, though. Hope the Drontal helps and good luck!
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Postby JB » Thu Jul 08, 2004 12:10 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I really appreciate it.

In your experience is the metronidazole really necessary, or is there a chance that the Drontal by itself will work? Should I go harrass my vet about this? I feed my dog innova right now and have cut her off from everything else. Is that sufficient, or would you still recommend the bland diet you posted above?
JB
 

Postby BabyReba » Thu Jul 08, 2004 12:34 pm

JB,

The metronidazole has really helped me a lot, I know some people don't like it because it's kinda strong, but in my experience it's helped firm up the dog's stool more quickly than anything else. And I have definitely found that if I taper off before a solid 10-day regimen, the ghiardia always comes back. So in my experience, it really helps a lot.

And I would absolutely go bland--I won't feed kibble to a dog with ghiardia, and I feed Canidae and/or Innova too. It's just kinda tough on a dog with inflamed bowels to digest. A diet of boiled meats, pastas, yogurts, some rice is much more sothing on the poor GI tract. Sometimes when the dog starts to show signs of improving, I'll supplement with a bit of canned salmon, too, but just a little at a time.

Good luck, I hope you and your poor pup get some relief from the nasty GI bug!
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Postby JB » Thu Jul 08, 2004 12:59 pm

Got it.

Thanks again for taking the time to type all that out.
JB
 

Postby concreterose » Thu Jul 08, 2004 2:27 pm

My dogs had giardia. Our two year old rat terrier got it from our puppy, who came to me with it. From the reading that I've done on it and from conversations with my vet, the parasite never really leaves completely...the dog can have flare ups years down the line. Vicki and Daphne had three treatments for it. After Flagyl, panacur and metronidazole they were still testing positive. The vet finally sent for another medication (I can't remember the name of it) that was specially mixed, and that helped a lot. She told us to beware though, if the dog's system gets stressed, the parasite can flare up again. It's been a year since it happened and we haven't had anymore bouts with it.

If it continues to be a problem with my your dog, I can call my vet and ask her the name of the meds they sent off for if you want to tell your vet about it.
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Postby moto1320 » Thu Jul 08, 2004 2:47 pm

JB, what kind of water system are you on and is the pup going to any public parks. It can easily get into well water and several of the standing water ponds around here (in parks) always test positive for it. She's recontracting it somewhere.
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Postby concreterose » Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:03 pm

She's recontracting it somewhere.

Not necessarily. That annoying little parasite is VERY hard to get completely rid of!
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Postby JB » Fri Jul 09, 2004 9:00 am

Moto, I live downtown in Toronto. The water is fine for sure. Also, humans can get Giardia... so my wife and I might have noticed if it was in the water (if you know what I mean :sad: ). I take her to two parks, twice a day. Neither has any water in it. Thanks for the sugestions.

Concreterose, thanks for the advice.
JB
 

Postby JB » Fri Jul 09, 2004 9:02 am

concreterose wrote:
She's recontracting it somewhere.

Not necessarily. That annoying little parasite is VERY hard to get completely rid of!


Ya... I'm noticing that! I'm also noticing that only dog owners (as opposed to vets) are aware of this.
JB
 

Postby concreterose » Fri Jul 09, 2004 1:21 pm

JB, I forgot to mention in my other post that I stumbled upon a product that is EXCELLENT for firming up their stool while you are treating the ghiardia. It doesn't cure the parasite, but gets rid of the diarrhea in like one dose. It's called PARVAID and is made by a company called Amber Labs...really nice people. I started using it when Vicki had parvo to keep her hydrated, and I swear, she started back eating in about two hours (she hadn't eaten in almost a week). This stuff helped save her life.
If your pup has really bad diarrhea and you order it, you can call them and they'll even give you the recipe for the tea over the phone until you get your order. It's all natural herbs. I keep a bottle on hand for whenever they get the runs or throw up. It's a little pricey (I think I paid $35 for one fluid ounce) but it lasts a really long time. I still have a little under half a bottle and it's been a year. Good for upset tummies too.
Their website is http://www.ambertech.com
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Postby JB » Fri Jul 09, 2004 1:34 pm

Thanks concreterose. Again, I appreciate all the advice.

You know what's funny? My dog have never lost her appetit and her stool is just soft... not runny or anything. Like I said in my first post, she doesn't have a problem holding it... it just doesn't come out in logs and she keep testing positive.

God... you have no idea how much time every day I spend talking about my dog's poop. Just once I'd like to have a conversation with my wife without mentioning the dog's butt! Sorry, I had to share my frustration.

Oh... to anyone who's used drontal plus. My dog HAS gotten runny while on the drug. Has anyone else noticed this?
JB
 

Postby moto1320 » Fri Jul 09, 2004 2:34 pm

I'll call the rescue that Doc came from. They are all on well water and had frequent problems with it becoming contaminated.

Good tip Concrete, I am having big problems with Doc and the runs. I gave the poor little guy Kaopectate (sp?) like the vet said and it plugged him up for almost 2 days despite the tiny dose.

JB, I hear ya on the butt conversations....every damn day. :roll: lol
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Postby JB » Mon Jul 12, 2004 8:04 am

It seems to have worked!

I just gave her the drontal for 3 days and it looks like it's worked better then any of the other treatments (panacur and/or flagyl).

Thanks again for all the advice. I think I'm going to try the drontal w/ flagyl for 10 days as babyreba suggested if it flares up again as I remember the flagyl helping to firm her up when I gave it to her before.

Another thing... she seems to have gotten a pretty nasty cold a couple days ago. She's got a cough and a super runny nose. It's onset coinsides with me giving her the drontal, so I wonder if the meds knocked her back a little bit and left her open to some kind of virus.
JB
 

Postby concreterose » Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:54 pm

The ghiardia could've weakened her immune system a bit. Just keep encouraging her to eat good food. Ask your vet what dosage of vitamin C with Ester is appropriate for her body weight. That helps a lot, you can crush it and sprinkle it on her food. You can also chop up a little garlic and mix it in there too. The ghiardia, coupled with parvo took it's toll on Vicki's immune system...she got demodex mange after all of that :roll:
After she got some good quality food in her and I started her on supplements, she recovered quickly.
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