SlimDoggy Health Check: Intestinal Parasites

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The next installment in our SlimDoggy Health Check series continues our look at Parasites, specifically intestinal parasites.

Intestinal Parasites

Giardia is a single-celled organism that lives in the intestines of dogs. It is one of the more frequently found parasites and typically affects older dogs and puppies. It is typically contracted by drinking water or feces infected with the parasite. Symptoms mainly exhibit themselves in stomach upset and diarrhea. The stools will be foul smelling and possibly have a greenish tinge, mucus and possibly even blood. Untreated it can lead to weight loss, poor conditioning and even death. Giardis can easily be diagnosed with a simple fecal sample and treatment with an antibiotic for 5-7 days usually takes care of the problem. It can be passed to humans, so if your dog is diagnosed with it care should be taken to disinfect properly and thoroughly. As with many of these types of parasites, prevention is through cleanliness.
intestinal parasites
Coccidia are all small protozoa, or single-celled organism that live in the intestines of animals. It is most often found in puppies as they have no immunity to the organisms. As dog’s age, they develop a natural immunity. You may find coccidia in most dogs without any ill effects. In puppies, it’s a different story and classic symptoms of watery diarrhea and possibly vomiting can develop quickly and be devastating. Quick diagnosis and treatment is essential. Diagnosis is made through examination of a fecal sample and treatment with sulfa drugs follows. The drugs do not kill the organisms, but they do limit their growth allowing for the pups immunity to develop and take care of the organisms. Since they are carried through the feces of infected animals, prevention centers on keeping puppy areas, kennels, bedding, etc. clean. The protozoa can also be carried in drinking water and by fleas and ticks.


Additional Readings:
Giardia in Dogs
Intestinal Parasites In Your Dog And What To Do About Them
Coccidia (Coccidiosis): A Cause of DiarrheaIntestinal Parasite (Coccidia) in Dogs


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  1. Sounds disgusting. I think we will pass on those creatures if possible! It reminds Mom of tapeworms. When she was a kid, cats got those a lot and would pass them. I guess it was pretty nasty.
    Emma recently posted…Fun At Kinnickinnic State Park In WisconsinMy Profile

  2. TY for the information. My dog is constantly getting Staph Intermedius from the lakes and ponds on my farm, and I often wonder if he has Giardia as well. If the diarrhea continues after the Keflex, I’ll take him back by the vet to make sure there is not Giardia as well!

    • It’s so hard when so many of these parasites are all over the environment. Given the amount of coyote poop Jack manages to grab each day, I’m surprised he doesn’t have more of these. Good luck.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Health Check: Intestinal ParasitesMy Profile

  3. Giardia can be nasty, most of time it comes from drinking stagnate water with the parasite in it. It is a cool parasite to look at under the microscope thou, it is pear shaped with a smiley face in it.
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  4. Our vet always laughs because Easy gets only bottled water…. but to have that little critters inside of you is …urrrgh… :o)
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  5. One of my worries about traveling with Honey are the parasites that are new to me. I’m familiar with giardia and leptospirosis and the like. But who knows what exotic buggies we’ll discover in warmer climes.

    Keep the posts coming. I have plenty of boning up to do.
    Pamela recently posted…Should YOU Foster A Dog?My Profile

  6. Great information about these two nasty illnesses. My Husky had Giardia when we first brought her home. It was gross but we caught it quickly and she recovered in a few days. Sharing.
    Love & Biscuits
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
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  7. I know sometimes it can be hard to diagnose both of those parasites and sometimes if a dog has symptoms, vets will treat suspected cases even if not actually confirmed.
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  8. Scary stuff! I hope we never have to deal with those things!
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  9. Sam would snack on deer droppings when we’d visit my daughter’s family in the mountains-blech!. With his sensitive stomach, it could be quite the adventure. Kaopectate worked great on the diarrhea until we could get specific treatment from the vet. Parasites are the pits!
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  10. Harley had giardia so bad – it took months to get him healthy again. He was severely infected. There’s no doubt had I not asked for him, he would have died. Damn puppy mills.
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