What is Giardia? Giardia is an illness in pets derving from a parasite. We’ve dealt with many questions over the years on this particular parasite. Most importantly everyone wants to know what it is and their next question is usually if it was our pet how would we fix them naturally? It’s important to note we aren’t vets, all of our advice is just what we would do or have done from our own personal experiences.
This parasite of single cell origin colonizes and reproduces in the small intestine of animals including dogs and cats.This parasite inhibits your pets ability to absorb nutrients and electrolytes which leads to diarrhea, dehydration and weight loss. Pets suffering from Giardia can have severe diarrhea intermittently or continuously especially in puppies or pets with a compromised immune system. Some animals might not exhibit any symptoms while unknowingly passing this parasite on to others. The life cycle of Giardia is composed of two stages. Mature parasites, or trophozoites, live in the small intestine and attach to the intestinal wall to feed. If your pet is infected with enough of these then damage to the intestinal wall can occur. As the trophozoites multiply they eventually become cysts. Cysts are the infective stage where they travel through the intestines and are shed into the feces. They can survive for several weeks or months outside of the body as cysts. This is where your pet can be reinfected to begin the life cycle again and again or be ingested by an unsuspecting host. Pets can be exposed to this parasite from soil contamination, untreated drinking water, or the ingestion of infected fecal matter. Since dogs especially love putting things in their mouth it can be harder to determine the original source.
Once diagnosed it's important to keep your pets environment as clean as possible. Including picking up and getting rid of waste and keeping their crate or space tidy. Make sure to keep clean fresh drinking water accessible to ensure your pets hydration. To rid your pet of this harmful parasite we recommend the following Amber Naturalz products, Vibactra Plus and Paxaid for dogs or Vibactra Plus and Kitty DT for cats with the addition of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for both. For dogs paxaid is an important part of getting over Giardia. This product is made up of many herbs that work together to be your dog's best defense against vomiting and diarrhea but it will also help to bring back an appetite where one has been lost! Made up of a variety of ingredients each herb helps to benefit your pet in a different way. Peppermint and Spearmint are used to help calm the stomach and allow all of the ingredients to pass through the stomach and into the small intestine where the parasite is attacking. Once in the stomach Chamomile acts to flush the intestinal tract while preventing cramping. Many of the herbs have strong antibiotic properties or are used to boost the immune system like plantain, echinacea, garlic, and goldenseal! To help combat nausea Hibiscus flowers are added to the mix. All of these and a few more ensure Paxaid is up to the challenge of Giardia! Kitty DT is its Feline equivalent which will act in the same manner. Kitty DT has more than a few of the same herbs as Paxaid to ensure your cat's stomach will be in the best hands. To name a few of their overlapping properties Kitty DT consists of herbs like chamomile, peppermint, spearmint, echinacea, and goldenseal with a few others as well. We recommend administering the Paxaid or Kitty DT 4 times a day for a minimum of 10 days depending on the situation. The addition of Vibactra plus is important as it acts as a natural antibiotic and should also be given 4 times a day. This supplement will ensure your pets immune system is boosted and will help rid their body of Giardia in an efficient manner. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth or DE for short is something you've heard us mention before. DE is a fossil shell flour from the floor of oceans or lakes. Food grade DE is not to be confused with its chemical counterpart which is used in pools and will severely harm your pet. Food grade DE kills most parasites in 7 to 14 days, however in order to be most effective we recommend feeding it to your pet for a minimum of 60 days to ensure all parasites are removed from the system. Food grade diatomaceous earth works in a purely physical/mechanical manner, not “chemical” and thus has no chemical toxicity. The best part? Parasites can’t build up a tolerance or immunity to its chemical reaction! For more information on DE and our feeding dosage chart check out our Tips and Advice tab.
But how can you keep your pets safe to begin with? A preventive action you can take is always being aware of your pets surroundings and their general hygiene. Keeping your pets away from other animals' waste is essential. Keeping a clean yard and environment will help to keep your pets' exposure to this parasite much lower. Also taking care not to bring your pets to environments where there are large amounts of animal feces or possibility of exposure or contamination. Some Boarding facilities and dog parks can be a breeding ground for this harmful parasite so it’s important to keep this in mind. By taking steps to avoid certain areas and keeping your pets' surroundings clean your pet is sure to have the best chances of avoiding Giardia all together. But sometimes no matter how much you try to protect them, they may be exposed so it’s best to be prepared and know what your natural options are!