What is Giardiasis?

Our lab team at Pride Veterinary Centre have put together a “Faecal February Campaign” to cover an array of topics to help you as an owner when your pet goes for a number two! This article covers what is Giardiasis and what symptoms to look out for if you’re concerned.

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Our lab team at Pride Veterinary Centre have put together a “Faecal February Campaign” to cover an array of topics to help you as an owner when your pet goes for a number two!

What is Giardiasis?

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by the protozoan parasite Giardia spp.  Infections occur in most domestic animals and is also very common in humans.

Giardiasis cycle in a dog

Giardia oocysts (1) can be found in faecal matter, contaminated water, food and soil. Once cysts are ingested, they release actively moving trophozoites (2) which travel to the small intestine, here they multiply causing infection. Trophozoites in the intestine return to cyst form (3) and leave the host via the faeces (4), contaminating the external environment.

What are the symptoms?

Even though infection rates are high some animals show no clinical signs. When they do display symptoms, they may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

More severe cases may lead to dehydration and/or more serious disease.

How is Giardiasis diagnosed?

If your vet suspects your pet may have a Giardia infection, they will ask you to provide three faecal samples from three consecutive days, this will give the laboratory the best chance to catch the presence of Giardia in the faeces. The laboratory uses a simple and rapid test method to detect Giardia antigen in a sample.

Faecal sample to check for Giardiasis

 

A small portion of faeces from each day is placed inside the test tube and mixed with the buffer before inserting the strip and leaving to incubate for 5 minutes. A red line will appear next to the blue control line if the test is positive.

Giardiasis test

 

Image Sources:

www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/trophozoite

www.parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-020-04422-6/figures/1

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