GIARDIA, JMHO, 
July 9, 2016

Written this day as an email to a customer. My thoughts for sometime in words to help better understand our experience with this nagging and common milady:

If your puppy is non-symptomatic, do not continue treatment. It only compounds the issue, as we've seen on a few occasions. It has been noted that Giardia can still be seen on lab tests for as much as a month following treatment, but does not mean it has not been successfully treated.

There is a new protocol being practiced by veterinarians called the Elisa test which requires sending out the stool sample of the dog to confirm Giardiasis. In other words, it is seldom diagnosed successfully in-house unless there is a huge population. It is very difficult to detect by standard floating procedures. 

Due to the rise among breeders being told puppies are infected with Giardiasis, I'm beginning to believe most dogs carry it, and most adults are unaffected by it?. Giardia is everywhere in the environment. There is no way to avoid contact with it unless you live in a glass bubble. I always loved that Trifexis commercial (although not the product) with the dog playing from a glass tube. So true. Parasites can never be eliminated, only controlled. 

As a rule, unless our puppies stay with us for an extended period of time (seldom anymore), they never leave the nursery until they go home, so they are never exposed to the outdoors where Giardia exists along with other common parasites.  Mom is weaned off of them around 6 weeks or as soon as she seems disinterested in going into the puppy box to nurse. Once separated from mom, (all adults who are regularly treated with our pack to control parasites) we begin a proactive de-worming treatment that also addresses Giardia on the puppies with several consecutive days of Febendazole. If they actually show symptoms that are suspicious, we treat with metronidazole as well, all under the guidance of our veterinarians. 

Their area is scrubbed daily with bleach and all bedding and toys are changed daily. We have a separate washer/dryer in our nursery just for this purpose. This has always been our protocol. We also train them to a puppy litter box to minimize treading through their own waste on a day to day basis. It makes our daily cleaning routine a little easier as well, but it is all removed and dissinfected every day. Again, they have never been outside if they are going home around 8 weeks of age to minimize exposure. The only exposure they have to outdoors is through their mom. Although they've been de-wormed at least twice from the age of 2 weeks before mom leaves, our protocol with Fenbendazole is not begun until they are completely weaned. 

Since this seems to be a more recent diagnosed ailment on a more regular basis (we've been breeding for 8 1/2 years and I also follow breeding groups through social media), I'd be curious to see the veterinarian associations recommend random lab tests of various house dogs throughout the country that play outdoors, especially those that seldom if ever go to the vet in their lifetime and whether symptomatic or not, and see the results? 

In the meantime, we will continue our protocol of proactive treatment to minimize Giardia and its symptoms. I kind of see it as what I dealt with when my children were babies. They caught ever bug/virus that came their way, and ear infections were constant. It seemed as if we lived at the pediatric's office at times? Then, as their immune system developed as they grew, their frequencies of illness drastically dropped. Today they are healthy, my son a recent graduate with his MBA, married 3 years and expecting our first grandchild in October, and my sweet little pixie girl, a student at WVU, almost 22 years old, is getting married to her soulmate this September. Busy year head for us. 

Some vets will agonize and dramatize over Giardia and Coccidia among other ailments, and then we have our down to earth country farm vets that are more realistic. Nonetheless, unless they are employed by these fast growing corporate vet clinic enterprises that are putting our small practice vets out of business, I seldom doubt their expertise. 

b© Lawpdoodle K9 Manor 2014