Giardiasis is a parasite caused by the one celled microscopic protozoan called Giardia intestinalis. It is found in the intestines and is passed in large numbers in the feces of infected animals and humans. The parasite is protected by an outer shell allowing it to survive outside the body and in the environment for long periods of time. It is found worldwide and is particularly common in warm climates.
Giardiasis infection occurs in a wide variety of wild and domestic animal species including goats, cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, dogs, cats, beavers, coyotes, rodents, raccoons, and non-human primates.
Most animals with giardiasis show no signs of disease. Diarrhea occurs most frequently in younger animals. Soft stool, a poor hair coat, intestinal gas, weight loss or failure to gain weight can also be seen (symptoms similar to coccidiosis).
Infection from giardia occurs after ingesting the parasite found in soil, food, water sources (lakes, streams etc.), or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces from infected animals.
No drug is approved for the treatment of giardiasis in ruminants. However, fenbendazole (Panacur) and albendazole (Valbazen) have shown to be of some benefit.
Prompt removal of feces and cleaning and disinfecting animal areas can limit environmental contamination.
Was this information helpful? Provide Feedback.