Recurring giardia - 8 month pup

Discussion in 'Labrador health' started by Emma W., Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Emma W.

    Emma W. Registered Users

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    Hi there - our pup is 8 months old. He developed loose stools about two months ago to which we brought to the vet to run a few tests. He came back positive for giardia and was treated with a 3 day panacur and 8 day antibiotics. All seemed well and he was improving but we just brought him back in for a re-test due to vets recommendation (roughly 4 weeks later) and he tested positive again. The vet said his count was actually higher this time than last. We disinfected everything including our back yard, toys, water bowls, etc. but the vet mentioned he must be re-infecting himself. Our pup is the only household dog. We live in Phoenix and temperatures are very warm currently so we do lots of swimming in our pool and walks early in the morning and late at night. Our vet also said he could be picking this up from parks, trails etc. and said we shouldn’t bring him to those places. However, I don’t see that as realistic and also unfair to our pup who loves his walks and the park near our house (not a dog park, just a local park) We are careful he doesn’t interact with other dogs or get into things he shouldn’t (standing water, other stool, etc.) I guess my fear is that his recurring giardia could hurt his stomach for the worse. Has anyone ever had a pup with giardia that went on for several months or never seemed to go away? We are going to treat him again with the 3 day panacur and most likely 8 day antibiotics depending on vets recommendation but wasn’t sure if anyone had a similar experience or if they did anything that finally rid it. Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Yes, I know quite a bit about giardia having had a dog suffer from it intermittently through life.

    The thing is, you say:

    But you don't say anything about his symptoms at this point.

    I've done quite a bit of research and read many papers on the giardia subject and basically, a huge number of dogs are asymptomatic carriers of it - meaning that, there is nothing wrong with their poop, but if you test for giardia, you will find it.

    Treating dogs with powerful ABs when they have no problems and healthy normal stools, just because something has been detected in them, is controversial and many vets agree we should only treat symptoms - so if the stools are normal, then don't treat even if giardia is found.

    You don't mention how your dog's stools are? Only what was tested and found in them? You said he was improving...? (Does that mean - normal?)

    So personally, I would focus on treating the symptom and not on achieving a 'no giardia' stool result.

    If you're going to use Panacur, many vets use 5 days for giardia - I know the product leaflet says 3, but that is considered quite short and since it is licensed to be used for literally weeks during pregnancy, there are no probs with giving it a couple more days. The reason is that giardia is only vulnerable to treatment when it stops being encysted - in its encysted state on the colon wall, it's really quite well protected against all kinds of things. The longer treatment goes on for, the better the chance of getting it. If treatment is too short, then it will just reproduce because some will be left behind - and then you are also running the risk of resistance to the ABs...

    You don't say what the antibiotics were, but I'm guessing they were metronidazole? That's the AB known to usually be effective against giardia. What dosage were you given? Again, 8 days is a bit short - with my dog, we always went for 10 days.

    Panacur is non-prescription and you can purchase it online from any online pet pharmacy if you want to try that one again yourselves for a longer course.

    But if the poop itself is ok, then do ask yourselves if you need to treat...

    Finally, you should be giving a pet probiotic, slippery elm, pumpkin powder, and kaolin - basically, you need to build up the GOOD bacteria in the gut, because if these are strong, they will be able to prevent the giardia taking over. They will have been nuked after ABs... So you need probiotics (I like the Dr Mercola probiotics for pets you can get on Amazon) and also prebiotics like the slippery elm and pumpkin powder to add fibre and to feed the good bacteria in the gut.
     
  3. Emma W.

    Emma W. Registered Users

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    Hi Jo - I really appreciate all this info, thank you. The antibiotic was metronidazole, yes. I can’t recall the exact dosage. When I say his stool was improving I mean that it is normal and solid 80 percent of the time. There is still about 20 percent of the time where it will be a bit soft or runny but it seems to be getting fewer and farther between. I think the panacur is a great idea and I did see I could purchase online so I think I’d like to go for a longer treatment this time and keep it handy. I have started giving him a probiotic (forti flora) based on reviews I read online but I will definitely give your recommendations a try. My main concern is keeping his gut healthy. I think what really concerned me is how baffled my vet seemed that he still tested positive but from what I’ve researched, it can be pretty intermittent as you mentioned above. Thanks again for the advice. I am going to give everything you mentioned a try.
     
  4. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    @Emma W. Hi - Yes, other things you could try, would be adding some kefir to his diet - you can buy it in human food stores and just add a good splash to every meal. Vary the brand if you can, because different brands contain different probiotics. Here's some research on that one: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030219301961

    And adding some green tripe - if you have a pet shop that stocks raw dog food, see if you can find some Nutriment Just Tripe. This is the fermented stomach contents of ruminant animals(!) - so lots of good bacteria in there as well.

    Fortiflora is good, but it is only one bacteria (enterrococus faecium if I spelt that right), and really you need a broader spectrum of good bacteria.

    If you can avoid another course of metronidazole and fix it just with the Panacur, that would be best - as then you're not nuking the good bacteria so much...

    You might also want to consider switching to a complete raw diet, like Nutriment or similar - since this results in a healthier microbiome for dogs: https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12917-017-0981-z and https://healthypets.mercola.com/sit.../kibble-fed-dogs-metabolic-stress-levels.aspx
     
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  5. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute

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    As I recall, Giardia can be somewhat resistant. When Tilly had it, we had to do a double course of metronidazole.
     
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  6. Jenn99

    Jenn99 Registered Users

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    Giardia is a water borne bug.
    So, drinking out of puddles, streams, standing water. Also, might want to have your pool water tested it could be from there depending on how much chlorine that you use.
     
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  7. Liz W

    Liz W Registered Users

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    My 8 month old puppy has been struggling with Giardia since October. Its seems everything I'm doing isn't working. I've taken him to two different vets and had a consult with another vet online and consulted a holistic pet food company. Pet food company suggested I start a probiotic which I did. He's had three rounds of Panacur and two rounds of Metronidazole. I'm so exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed by this problem that I'm determined to get rid of it and getting nowhere! I wash his toys in the washer and dishwasher. I wash his food and water bowls in hot soapy water. I immediately clean up his poop and spray the area with bleach. I disinfect my tile floors. I vacuum my rugs. I wash his butt with soap and water when he's done pooping. I've lowered the water on my pool cover since he loves to drink and play in the standing water and I've even applied agricultural lime on my grass to make the environment less inhabitable to the parasite. He poops in several spots when he goes out so cleaning it up is frustrating. The first spot the poop looks "good" but the other spots the poop gets increasingly soft and difficult to rake out of the grass. Ugh! I can only imagine how many cysts are left behind so I always saturate my grass with bleach. I could care less if I'm ruining the sod! The poop is then discarded in a plastic bag and put in the garbage. I created a special poopy pen for him to use so he's not pooping all over my large yard. Sometimes he uses it and sometimes he doesn't. I literally have to follow him around my yard watching and waiting for him to do his business. Fortunately he's growing and gaining weight but his thick fluffy coat can be deceiving. Not sure it matters but we live in New Jersey. I'm open to any suggestions or thoughts. Please send them because I'm desperate.
     
  8. Emma W.

    Emma W. Registered Users

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    Hi @Liz W so sorry you are having such a tough time. I feel for you. Giardia is extremely defeating. Try searching for it in the search bar and you’ll see lots of similar posts. Have you tried extending the panacur past the 3 day mark? For example, doing a 5-6 day treatment instead? And using the antibiotics for 10 days? And then 2 weeks later do another round of panacur? I know vets say 3 days but the best advice I got was to use it for much longer than that. You can read the posts above to see. 3 days of panacur did not seem to do anything. When our pup turned about 13 months, something switched and his immune system seemed to just get stronger. I also would focus more on the symptoms (getting firmer stools) instead of trying to get a negative test. Your cleaning sounds amazing but focus on adding things to the food to get firmer stools. You can also feed plain boiled chicken and rice for a few days then slowly add back in the kibble. I hope that helps and that other people can share their experiences. I’ve been in your shoes and sympathize.
     
  9. Liz W

    Liz W Registered Users

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    Hi Emma. Thanks for your response. Yes, I’ve tried Panacur for 5+ days and Metrondiazole for 10 days. I will try the chicken as you suggested. Ultimately, I would like a negative result but for now I’d like to firm up his stool. Thanks for your input.
     

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