Guide to Giardia in Dogs

How to Identify & Treat Dog Giardia
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Giardia Treatment for Dogs

There are several prescription medications available for effective Giardia treatment for dogs. There are also supportive natural therapies available to address help speed healing and treat symptoms such as digestive system function in giardia in dogs patients.

Prescription Medications for Giardia in Dogs

Dog giardia is primarily treated with either Metronidazole (effective in 50% to 60% of cases)  or Fenbendazole (3 to 5 days).  Metronidazole is not effective in all case, with many veterinarians opting to use Fenbendazole instead or a combination of the two.

Other medications used include DrontalPlus (praziquantel), pyrantel pamoate and febantel, used in combination over a 3 day period.

Giardia Treatment for Dogs CAPC Guidelines

The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends that dogs be treated with either:

  • febendazole (5 days) or
  • febendazole in combination with metronidazole for 5 days.  If the dog giardia treatment is not successful, then the medications can be extended for 10 days.

Along with the prescription medications it is recommended that dogs undergoing treatment be bathed in order to remove any cysts that are caught in the dog’s coat.

Treating Dog Giardia when there are no Giardia Symptoms

According to CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council) guidelines,  giardia treatment in dogs is not recommended if there are no symptoms.  If you choose to pursue treatment due to the risk to other dogs, then one course of medication is suggested.  Owners may choose to treat dogs that live with infected pets as a protective measure.

Dog Giardia Vaccine

The dog giardia vaccine is not considered part of the core vaccines recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA, 2006 guidelines).  In their opinion, while the vaccine prevents the shedding of giardia cysts, it does not stop the giardia infection. Also, since giardia in puppies is usually asymptomatic (doesn’t cause symptoms), it is not considered necessary.

Giardia in Dogs Natural Treatment

Natural remedies can be used to support a dog after completion of the prescription remedies.  Product such as Parasite Dr. are formulated to support the dog’s natural defenses and to help speed healing.  The addition of fiber to the diet in a product such as Natural Moves can help restore digestive health by helping with bacterial overgrowth and/or by inhibiting the ability of the giardia protozoa to cling to the walls of the dog’s small intestine.

Avoiding Dog Giardia Reinfection

Giardia can last in the environment for several months, potentially causes re-infection in dogs who live in an environment that was not disinfected.  If your dog defecates on a concrete surface or deck, consider steam cleaning and/or use of an outdoor disinfectant. Avoid areas that are not hygienic and where dogs can shed giardia cysts into the environment via feces.

What if the Dog Giardia Treatment Didn’t Work?

As mentioned above, if the giardia treatment for dogs protocol mentioned above did not work after one course of treatment, then medications can be extended for an additional 10 days per the manufacturers and your veterinarian’s direction. Your veterinarian will also re-consider other disorders as causing your dog’s symptoms such as an immunodeficiency disorder (when the body’s immune system does not work properly), exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bacterial overgrowth and canine inflammatory bowel disease.

Giardia Treatment for Dogs References:

Michael R. Lappin, DVM,
Department of Clinical Sciences
Colorado State University
Fort Collins
Colorado 80523



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