The next water-borne infection we want you to know about is an intestinal parasite called Giardia. Like other intestinal parasites, Giardia is transmitted by an animal ingesting feces from an infected animal. Because Giardia is a single-celled organism, not a worm, it can also be spread in water where an infected animal has defecated. Gross!
Signs of Giardia include diarrhea, which may come and go instead of being a problem all the time, and weight loss or failure to gain weight. Sometimes Giardia doesn’t cause any problems, particularly in adult dogs with healthy immune systems, but it can be passed to other animals in the house, particularly puppies, and rarely even to people.
Giardia is one of the parasites we check for when we send a fecal sample to the lab, so any time your pet is being examined for diarrhea, it is smart to bring a fecal sample with you to your pet’s visit. We also like to check a sample on all puppies and kittens, who commonly have parasites, including Giardia. We've been seeing a lot of this parasite lately, so do your best to limit exposure by keeping your dog from eating the poop of other animals, or drinking out of puddles and streams.
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