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What are Giardiasis?

The most obvious signs of giardiasis include odorous and soft diarrhea that may or may not contain blood and mucus. Cats that are suffering from giardiasis are experiencing intestinal discomfort and also at risk of becoming severely dehydrated. To prevent complications, it’s important to take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as you begin to spot the symptoms.

Giardiasis is an infection caused by the Giardia intestinalis parasite. The parasite can affect humans and animals, and in fact, is a common cause of “traveler’s diarrhea” in people. Cats can become infected after eating or drinking things that have been contaminated, mainly groundwater or animal feces. Once the parasite has been introduced into your cat’s body, it will latch onto its intestinal wall and begin reproducing and feeding, causing immediate discomfort and sudden diarrhea.

Giardiasis Average Cost

From 513 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Giardiasis in Cats

Your cat may begin to exhibit symptoms of giardiasis suddenly without any warning. The most obvious sign of giardiasis is diarrhea with a strong odor, which is usually soft or watery, and may even be slightly discolored. Some cats will also have blood or mucus in their stool. However, this is not the only symptom of giardiasis. Some of the others include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
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Causes of Giardiasis in Cats

Giardiasis is caused by the Giardia intestinalis parasite, which can infect both people and animals. Cats have to drink or eat the parasite in order to become infected. Usually, cats develop this infection after drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated feces from another animal. Once the parasite is in your cat’s body, it will attach to the intestinal walls and begin to reproduce.

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Diagnosis of Giardiasis in Cats

Cats can quickly become dehydrated if they continue to have diarrhea without getting medical attention, so it’s important to take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. Be sure to tell the vet when the symptoms began and how often the diarrhea has occurred. Giardiasis is characterized by strong-smelling, soft, fecal matter, so the vet will need to know if this is how your cat’s fecal matter looks and smells. You should also let your vet know about your cat’s diet. Cats can often get diarrhea from changes in their diet, so if you haven’t made any changes, it’s important to rule this out as a potential cause.

The vet will need to test your cat’s stool in order to provide an accurate diagnosis. Either a fecal smear or fecal flotation test will be done on the sample. If your cat has giardiasis, the parasite will be present in his fecal matter, however, it’s not guaranteed that every stool sample will contain the parasite. Therefore, the vet may need to test multiple samples in order to confirm it is giardiasis. It’s possible that he will ask to test samples from three different days before making an official diagnosis.

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Treatment of Giardiasis in Cats

In some cases, the vet will not be able to spot the parasite in the cat’s stool even if it is present in the cat’s body. If no other causes of the symptoms can be identified, the vet may diagnose your cat with giardiasis even though he has not actually seen the parasite.

Unless your cat is very weak, you should be able to take him home after consulting with the vet. However, if your cat has suffered severe dehydration or electrolyte imbalance from vomiting and having diarrhea, he may need to receive fluids via an IV.

No medications have been approved to treat giardiasis in cats within the United States. However, vets will still administer prescription medications, most commonly metronidazole, to treat giardiasis. This will usually need to be given for a period of up to one week. 

Your cat will also need to be thoroughly bathed to ensure there are no parasites hiding in the cat’s fur.

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Recovery of Giardiasis in Cats

The majority of cats will fully recover from giardiasis after receiving the proper medication, but those who already have weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing complications. To prevent your cat from contracting giardiasis again after he has recovered, you will need to keep his living environment as clean as possible. Ask your vet how you should sterilize his bedding, toys, and any other items he may come into contact with. If you have other pets, make sure they are checked for giardiasis right away. 

While your cat is taking medication, it’s important to bathe him on a regular basis with shampoo recommended by your vet. It’s best to keep your cat indoors so he is not exposed to any contaminated feces from other animals. 

After you have administered the full course of medication, bring your cat in for a follow-up visit to retest for the parasites. 

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Giardiasis Average Cost

From 513 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

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Giardiasis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Tippy and Mitzy

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tabby

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

I'm pretty sure that I have two cats nearly a year old with giardiasis. Their stools are loose (not liquid but loose enough that they cannot be easily scooped), they are VERY foul smelling, and at one point were slightly green and slimy. I have used Panacur in the past but when reading the packaging it says it treats "Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms". It is my understanding that giardiasis is a parasite and not a worm. Does Panacur work on these parasites?

Aug. 30, 2018

Tippy and Mitzy's Owner

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Icy & Mouse

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American Shorthair

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Smelly Loose Stool
Kittens Diagnosed With Giardia

I had two kittens from one litter diagnosed with Giardia. However I have three litters all living together as well as on PG cat and now one that has just given birth. i would like to use Safe Guard on all to eradicate this in my home, but is it safe for pregnant & nursing Mom's?

July 25, 2018

Icy & Mouse's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Safeguard or Panacur (fenbendazole) are safe for use in pregnant or lactating queens. Below (first link) there is the dosing instructions for Pancur which has the same active ingredient as Safeguard and the second link goes into more details about treatment of Giardia including pregnant and lactating animals. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.noahcompendium.co.uk/?id=-455689 www.merckvetmanual.com/digestive-system/giardiasis-giardia/overview-of-giardiasis

July 25, 2018

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Prince

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Short hair domestic

dog-age-icon

21 Months

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Critical severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Anemia, Weight Loss, Lethargy

Can Giardiasis cause dangerously low red blood cell counts (31May-count was 11) and weight loss (11 lbs to 7lbs in 3mos). Prince is not yet 2yrs old, indoor/outdoor cat. Vets said "non-regenerative anemia" but after multiple blood work (in-house and lab), still don't know what's causing this. He tested positive for Giardiasis and has been on meds for about 2wks. Bloodwork from this week now shows red count at 15 and 1/2lb weight gain. Parasites still present. *Also-he licks the brick & cement hearth around the fireplace, the iron stove, and the rusty iron fireplace tools (poker, ash-shovel,etc). Low iron?

June 21, 2018

Prince's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Giardia doesn't typically cause a drop in blood cell counts, no. I'm not sure what medications he is on, but If his signs and counts are improving, that is a positive sign, and he may be low in iron - the best thing to do for that would be to make sure he is eating a high quality cat food, as that will have appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals for him to recover.

June 21, 2018

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Millie

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long hair

dog-age-icon

6 Months

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Stinky Poop

Our cat was diagnosed with giardia months ago, we gave her the medicine prescribed by the vet, she got retested and was still positive for it, gave her more of the medicine, and I think she is still positive with it. What should we do?

June 11, 2018

Millie's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Panacur (fenbendazole) is the treatment of choice for Giardia in cats and dogs, if treatment has been ineffective you should see your Veterinarian to see if the next course of treatment may be combined with metronidazole. When you’re treating a cat, you need to ensure that strict hygiene practices are carried out like cleaning around the anus and cleaning the litter tray. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 12, 2018

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Kookos

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Ragdoll

dog-age-icon

Five Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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3 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Noticed Giardia From Elisa Test In

Hello! Our cat got giardia diagnosis. We have given Alixur for 7 days now, as 7th day, we got more "normally colour" poo. He poo'ed second time today, and it was again pretty light poo. at 4th day, we cleaned our room for 4-5 hours. all floor, soffa, bedroom, actually everything.. Should poo be more normal already ? or have we failed on cleaning somehow ? Here in Finland we dont have much information from Giardia.

Jan. 18, 2018

Kookos' Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Giardia an persist in the stool, but after treatment and all of your cleaning, your environment should be clear of the parasite. It can be a difficult parasite to eradicate from Kookos intestines, however, and it would be a good idea to have him retested 3-4 weeks after treatment to make sure that he has cleared the infection. It can also take some time for his intestines to recover, and you may see abnormal stools until then. If you aren't sure that he is okay, it would be a good idea to follow up with your veterinarian to make sure. I hope that all goes well with him.

Jan. 18, 2018

What is the best medicine to give our cat that has been diagnosed with gardia? Ty, Sherry

April 16, 2018

Sherry

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Gandalf

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British Shorthair

dog-age-icon

7 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting
Giardia

My kitten Gandalf, was tested positive with Giardia a few months ago, she was having terrible diarrhoea which got increasingly worst. She got treatment and was having normal poops for the past few months. We were keeping her on sensitive food (even though she was sick of it) and changed it up to a different brand (It was Royal Canin veterinary senstive and now tried Hills prescription diet digestive care). But she has gone completely down hill again and having diarrhoea AND being sick this time (she didn't last time). We put her back on the Royal Canin food but it hasn't helped and getting worst again. I am guessing she is reinfected with Giardia even though we were really careful hygiene wise. Would the change of food brand triggered it? Anyone had a similar situation? She is a little more cuddly than usual but still quite hyper running around and playing. (She is an indoor cat). Thanks, Charlotte

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Chewie

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DOMESTIC

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Soft Stool
Loose Stool

we took in a stray cat around 2.5 months old a while ago and now she is nearly 4 months old. a few weeks ago, she started having diarrhea and vomit then our vet did an in-house swap test and she was tested positive for campylobacter. After 2 days of medication, she became better immediately but a few days after her 5 days treatment, softer stool are back again. Often hard at one end and soft/loose on the other. She has been having this kind of stool since we took her in so we thought it was normal. we took her in for her second vaccination and right on that night she had watery stool and poop a few times that looks like diarrhea. We brought her back to the vet right away and they did another swap test and the vet said she can see a lot of giardia cysts in her poop. we were prescribed with metro and panacur plus pro-kolin. She was also injected with zantac and also anti-vomiting drug as she experienced some over dosing after her first day of treatment. Metro was lowered to 1/8 of a pill to fit her size. Vet said there is NO NEED and DO NOT bathe her as it will cause stress which could result in more complication in cat flu etc. but reminded us to clean her paws and butt after she pooped. She is not having watery poop now but still very inconsistent. Often one firmer bits of poop (darker colour) followed by a lighter colour soft stool. We will be going away for 8 days after her 6 days of treatment and a cat sitter will come and take care of her 60mins everyday. we are super worried as during that 8 days she should be off medications. We have another older cat - boba, around 3.5 years old. She has been having healthy and firm poop and we contacted a few vets both said we can check her if she is infected but no need to start medication now as it is not necessary. One vet even told me, if the older cat has a good immune system, the giardia wont affect her. I am extremely paranoid as I am also someone going through anxiety and depression from time to time, I feel like i cant even relax at home because im worried that there are contaminated trace on my clothes, hands after i feed the younger one medicine ( ihave to hold her/hug her in while feeding). The infected kitten is staying in a crate for over a week now, by herself inside a room with door close. The two cats play together but still not yet started to groom each other yet. Before she was infected, we put the infected kitten back into her crate every evening. Our house is also a newly moved in enivornment, so luckily the cysts hasnt been shedding for years or months, as we just moved in around 3 weeks ago (the giardia came positive after we moved in for 1.5 weeks). I am extremely worried that my kitten will keep reinfecting herself as she is staying in her crate with her food and litter box, often i see marks of stepped-on soft stool on her food mat. We bleach clean with warm-hot water every day a few times for her litter box and throw out the litter completely to change for new one everytime when we see a new stool presence. But this is really affecting my life, because i could not get to work on time for the whole week due to sudden no.2 that occurs with my kitten right before i want to leave my house, so i had to do the cleaning again. i change sets of clothes everytime i feed her meds or cleaned her litter box. I use disinfectant and hot water to do laundry but i still feel like im living with giardia in my house. I feel like i need more of mental support than actual knowledge support, anyone also experiencing this? I feel like i want to give up sometimes.

dog-name-icon

Goose

dog-breed-icon

Short hair domestic

dog-age-icon

11 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loose, Foul Smelling Poo.

We adopted our little boy from the animal shelter at around 5 months. We took him to the vet, found out he had tape worm. We treated that but he still had horrible stools. He tested positive for giardia. We treated for that per the vets recommendation. He was tested after treatment and came back clear, but is still having foul smelling loose stools. He has been on a special diet this whole time (Hills Science digestive i/d blend) with no improvement. He is a happy little boy, very active, full of life, but his poo! Should we just try a new food or could the vet be missing something?

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Latte

dog-breed-icon

European Shorthair

dog-age-icon

5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Loss Of Appetite
Kitten Diagnosed With Giardiasis
Foul Smelling Stool

My 5 month old European Shorthair was recently diagnosed with Giardiasis. He had no other symptoms besides soft, smelly, foul stool which led me to believe he had Tritrichomonas at first. The results, however, came back Giardiasis. Since yesterday I suspect my other 5 month old kitten may now have the same condition, because she is also passing soft and relatively foul smelling stool. Today, 2 days into the treatment of the first kitten, both kittens are barely eating. I tried giving them a treat but they wouldn't take it either. The diagnosed kitten is usually very keen on his food and will finish his bowl before the other kitten does, but today he has barely eaten anything. Could it be because of a weakened immunesystem? Could it just be because he has a tummyache and will return to eat later? Should I seek medical attention for both?

dog-name-icon

Mini

dog-breed-icon

Taby

dog-age-icon

11 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lose Stool And Diarrhea

I have 4 cats at home all healthy plus a kitten. I wanna to adopt a kitten is been treated with metronidazole due to diarrhea. I have a special conexion or compassion for this kitten but I'm concern. I can keep him in the bathroom but when it comes to clean the litter. What do they mean with "clean after poop?" Obviously I take all poop away but I guess that the litter still gets residuals of urine and some tiny crumps of whatever remains left in the litter, so, Do I have to change the litter every time he does his business and disinfect the container and all over again every single time?????. Also can I cadle up the kitten and kiss him? he is half stray and in the meantime I must tame him...complicated situation I know but I don't want him to suffer more of what he is already suffering at the awful shelter he's in now. HELP PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Giardiasis Average Cost

From 513 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

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