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'Troublemakers' Responsible for Dog Diarrhea

Update Time:2023/10/23
Have you ever taken your dog out for a playdate, only to have chronic intermittent mucous diarrhea a few days after returning home, accompanied by anorexia, vomiting, weight loss, lethargy and other symptoms?

Diarrhea and vomiting in dogs can account for almost a third of all cases in counseling. Some causes are easy to identify, but others require digging into the owner's and dog's travel history to find the culprit.

I.How does Giardia infect animals
Giardia has two forms: cysts and trophozoites. The cyst is the infective form of Giardia. After the cyst enters the digestive tract, it exocysts to form trophozoites, some of which are attached to the small intestine and duodenum, and some move to the large intestine to transform into infectious cysts, and then return to the environment with the excretion of feces to wait for the next host.

Therefore, there are three main transmission routes of Giardia infective cysts: water transmission, food transmission and fecal-oral transmission.
II.Symptoms of Giardia infection
According to research data, the overall prevalence of Giardia in European dogs and cats is about 3-7%, but it is more prone to disease in young dogs and cats under one year of age, especially within 6 months, making it one of the common causes of diarrhea in this age group. Although most are asymptomatic, acute infections can still present the following symptoms:

1. Chronic intermittent mucous diarrhea;
2, Abdominal flatulence;
3, Decreased appetite;
4. Vomiting;
5. Drowsiness;
6. Poor spirit;
7. Weight loss;
8, Some dogs can appear "acquired lactose intolerance".

III.Methods of diagnosis of Giardiasis
The diagnosis of Giardiasis mainly includes antigen test, nucleic acid test and stool examination. Although fecal testing is simple and convenient, nucleic acid and antigen testing is recommended for novice dog owners if conditions permit. Generally speaking, only acute diarrhea will have a high probability of seeing Giardia trophozoites in the stool, while non-acute diarrhea is mostly cysts, which are very small and do not move, which is difficult for inexperienced pet doctors to find, which is the main reason why it is difficult to detect Giardia in the stool test of some pet hospitals.
IV. Why is Giardia difficult to eradicate?
1, Giardia is very easy to relapse, the main reason is that their cysts are very resistant to the external environment, a small number of cysts can make the animal re-infected;

2, Giardia may develop resistance to some drugs, and after relapse, repeated use of the same drug will become less and less effective;

3, Immune deficiency disease or secondary disease will increase the difficulty of elimination of Giardia.

Although relapse after initial treatment may be reinfection, it is more often the result of non-giardiasis itself, such as acquired lactose intolerance, certain malabsorption disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome.

V.How to prevent Giardia, deworming drugs useful?
Seeing this, many people will have the following question: Since Giardia can cause diarrhea in dogs, can the commonly used deworming drugs be prevented? Is there a vaccine?

Although many mainstream deworming drugs have certain effects, Giardia can not be completely prevented and killed due to its too special properties. However, as long as there is no disease, it will not cause damage to dogs, so dogs that do not have symptoms such as diarrhea, even if Giardia is found in their feces, there is no need to stress. Like coccidium, Giardia is of little significance for targeted prevention. The vaccine is not mature, usually do a good job of cleaning the dog itself and the environment can be. We should pay more attention to when Giardiasis is suspected to be the cause of diarrhea in dogs:

1, Have a long distance out history before diarrhea, such as the last or the last weekend to drive the dog to the suburbs with spring outing;
2. There was rainfall in the city before the diarrhea, and the water composition in the puddles is complex, which is likely to cause Giardia and other infections when dogs lick it;
3, Diarrhea before long-distance transportation, such as online shopping dogs, especially the price of "cheap" dogs, their living environment can be described as "terrible", demodex, fungi, various parasites and so on are likely to be infected in the dog dealer there.
4, Dogs like to smell disorderly eating, and even often close contact with other dogs feces.
The research process of Giardia is relatively representative, we human beings from the discovery, study of its existence and life characteristics and then to the pathogenic process, spent 300 years, in these 300 years, people's understanding of Giardia has been "overthrowing" and "rebuilding".
Some references:

D. Barutzki et al. - Results of Parastitological examinations of faecal samples from cats and dogs in Germany between 2003 and 2010. Parasitol Res. 2011 Aug ;  109 Suppl 1:S45-60

2, C Epe. et al. Giardia in symptomatic dogs and cats in Europe - Results of a European Study. Veterinary Parasitology. 2010; 173: 32 -- 38