First, like you the NorCalSuperBulls crew loves dogs, but we knew very little about Giardia. Then we imported a beautiful show champion French Bulldog from Hungary. This poor baby arrived with explosive diarrhea, no appetite, and cried in pain all night. We are not veterinarians, so naturally, we consulted ours. Several doctors and several medications later we were encouraged to consider euthanasia as our doggy became more sickly and withdrawn. We said “Not gonna give up,” and we consulted with a goat-raising farm-friend who educated us on Safeguard to treat Giardia as well as parasitic worms. She explained, “Ranchers cannot have sick animals!” Today our dog thrives and we firmly believe “An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.”
Next, did you know that Giardia is the most common single-celled parasite infecting humans and dogs worldwide? This highly contagious parasite is difficult to diagnose with traditional testing which leads to great suffering and malnutrition for pets. Giardia Meta-analysis studies show that between 7 and 15 percent of dog populations in the United States have undiagnosed and easily transmitted Giardia. Puppies are especially susceptible because of their underdeveloped immune response. Giardia is commonly spread by water, grass, or virtually anything that puppy touches with its mouth. You might just be realizing Giardia is everywhere!
Should I treat my puppy proactively? Giardia doesn’t affect every young puppy, but a significant majority will experience some effects. The most common and diagnosable symptom is diarrhea ranging from mild to explosive. Secondary side effects include gas, restlessness, and extreme pain which can interfere with a young dog’s training and potty routines. Sadly, many new owners often mistake this negative potty behavior as a “stubborn or untrainable dog.” In puppies, this training time is critical for life long behavioral patterns. Giardia’s negative impact on behaviors cannot be ignored.
What happens when your pup is diagnosed with Giardia? Surprisingly new puppy owners often face stigma and judgment when reaching out for on-line help, despite Giardia’s high prevalence. Many times, new owners will be blamed for “lack of cleanliness.” New puppy owners report feeling judged and even accused of “buying from infected puppy mills,” when instead their puppy might have simply licked from a puddle at the local park. Still, the reason for concern is valid. Why? Because as Giardia reproduces in the gut, this organism rapidly sheds spores through feces into the environment and the water supply. This contamination will then infect other pets and neighboring animals. This contamination can also commonly reinfect your treated dog! If you think your favorite dog park, that fire hydrant, the rest stop, or an urban front yard is safe from Giardia? Think again! However the treatment doesn’t have to be impossible and your new puppy is by no means, “Ruined for life by Giardia.” Giardia does not have to stop you or your dog from training and experiencing urban or park adventures!
How can we prevent Giardia?
Finally, how can I preventatively treat for Giardia?
Medical Assessment: If your dog experiences Giardia like symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, poor coat health, loss of appetite, poor weight gain, or poor health coat, your vet may recommend a fecal test. Done properly this involves getting a fresh, warm fecal sample using a loop tool to remove a sample from your dog. Giardia is very difficult to test for. Due to the prevalence of false negatives, a series of three tests should be performed if your dog tests negative yet shows potential Giardia symptoms.
Proactive Approach: Instead, you may also choose a proactive approach using Safeguard. Use a 3-day course for routine prevention.
Active cases. Because Giardia has a life cycle of 1-14 days(per CDC), and is a multi-stage organism, ozotes can begin sluffing off and entering the fecal matter, between 1 and 11 days after treatment. The dog can then re-uptake ozotes causing Giardia.
Thus for active cases(identified by Vet.) a 5-7 day course for dogs demonstrating symptoms, is recommended. Then a 10 day waiting period(no medication.) This is followed by another 5-7 day treatment. The goal is to eliminate the micro organism throughout Giardia's life cycle. Without the second treatment, the dog risks buiding tollerance to the medication causing secondary symptoms such as colitis.
About Safeguard: Fenbendazole Suspension (common name Panacur®, Safe Guard®) is a broad spectrum FDA-approved benzimidazole anthelmintic that is highly effective at removing and controlling most common canine gastrointestinal parasites including whipworms (Trichuris vulpis), hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Uncinaria stenocephala), roundworms (Toxocara Canis, Toxascaris leonina), and tapeworms (Taenia pisiformis). Used as a dewormer, fenbendazole addresses the parasites by disrupting the worm’s energy metabolism.
The appropriate dosage of fenbendazole for dogs is 50 mg/kg (22.7 mg/lb) daily for 3 consecutive days.
Five to seven days for active Giardia cases, followed by 10 day waiting period then another five to seven days.
Fenbendazole is not recommended for puppies under six weeks old.
FENBENDAZOLE ADULT & PUPPIES DOG DOSAGE CHART 10% (100 mg/ml)
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Additionally, we reccomend Bernies Perfect Poop.