Giardia infection is getting on everyone’s nerves. Apart from humans, we have also noticed Giardia in cats and dogs. And when it comes to your precious cats, you must take some crucial measures to get rid of any common health condition in them.
For cat lovers, it’s a very stressful thing to see your cat infected from some parasite. But you don’t have to worry as you are in the right place at the right time. Don’t Panic.
To know the root cause of this disease, you must understand what Giardia is? How can it affect your cat? What are the symptoms, causes, treatments, and preventions of Giardiasis?
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What Will I Learn?
- 1 What is Giardia?
- 2 Giardia in Cats
- 3 4 Main Symptoms of Giardia in Cats
- 4 How to diagnose Giardia In Cats?
- 5 2 Main Treatments of Giardia In Cats
- 6 How to Prevent Giardia in Cats? (5 Ways)
- 7 Is Giardiasis Contagious?
- 8 Final Verdict
What is Giardia?
Giardia or Giardiasis is an infection in the intestine due to the presence of a parasite. Yes, a parasite named Giardia duodenalis, is responsible for this type of infection. Mostly, infected food and water are the leading cause of this disease.
This infection is not confined to any specific country or region. However, you will find this condition common in countries that have a weak sanitation system and lacks clean drinking water.
Giardia in Cats
To know how damaging Giardia is for your cat, you must know from where your cat gets this type of infection. Usually, cats eat or sniff the cyst stage of Giardia present in the contaminated floor of your house. Apart from the floor, your cat can also get this resting stage of the parasite in its body from the polluted drinking water.
This cyst transforms itself into “Trophozoite,” which later attaches itself to the wall of the small intestine for feeding. Later, it reproduces itself by diving.
After some time, you will see the signs of the damage this parasite is making to your cat’s intestine. This parasite will go through the ingestion process and starts transmitting itself to feces in 5 to 16 days.
4 Main Symptoms of Giardia in Cats
Usually, cats do not show symptoms in most of the health conditions. But for Giardiasis, there are several symptoms and signs based on which you can get an idea of the health of your cat.
1. Unpleasant Stool Smell:
This is the most usual sign of Giardia in cats. When your cat’s stool is smelly in an uncomfortable manner, watery soft, pale, and contains mucus, this is a serious sign that something is wrong.
The parasite present in your cat’s body will make it difficult for your cat to digest food easily. Due to improper digestion, your cat will vomit everything it eats. So, if your cat is vomiting, again and again, must take your lovely cat to vet.
3. Weight Loss:
Due to vomiting and improper digestion due to the presence of a cyst in the intestine, your cat will lose its weight gradually. So, if you notice a gradual weight loss in your cat, make sure to take your kitten for further testing.
4. Inactive Body:
When your cat is suffering from this condition, it will remain dormant. The Giardia parasite will dehydrate your precious cat, and due to the dehydration, your cat will show inactive behavior.
Some infected cats do not show any abnormal behavior or sign. So, keep in mind that you don’t always rely on the symptoms. Maybe, your cat is going through this infection without showing any sickness sign. The best procedure is annual testing of Giardia in your cat, or if you have adopted a kitten recently, must take your kitten to vet for testing.
Giardia is not the deadliest condition for your cat. But, if your pet spends most of its time outdoors, then you must take it to for testing more often. If your cat has a weak immune system, then frequent testing is necessary.
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How to diagnose Giardia In Cats?
If you think your cat is showing signs mentioned above, and behaving abnormally, take your cat to vet for further testing. For accurate results, your vet will examine the stool of your cat thoroughly and Multiple times using the Fecal Flotation test.
1. Fecal Flotation:
This test is used to check the presence of parasites in one’s body by examining its stool. A particular solution is poured at the stool of the victim in a small container. The Giardia eggs will come to the surface of the stool. Your vet will further examine it thoroughly using a microscope.
Some vets also recommend the submission of feces and blood of your cat for laboratory testing for detecting Giardia antigens. But, mostly, the Fecal flotation test is enough to know much rough your cat’s condition.
2 Main Treatments of Giardia In Cats
There are several ways to treat Giardia in your cat. Some use the medical approach to get rid of this problem, while some cat owners believe that vaccination procedure is better than medicines.
1. Medicines for Giardia:
Usually, vets do recommend these two medicines for the treatment of Giardiasis, I.e., Fenbendazole and Metronidazole. These two medicines come in a tablet form to eliminate the bitterness and only for oral use.
You can either use these medicines in combination or alone. However, always remember to give these tablets to your cats for 5 to 7 days. However, if your cat is suffering from any other temporary ailment, make sure to consult your vet before giving any medication.
2. Vaccination for Giardia:
Some people reported that a vaccine is also available to get rid of Giardia in cats. However, we couldn’t come to any verdict about the effectiveness of the vaccine. Some studies show that the vaccine is effective for young kittens. On the other hand, some studies show that the vaccine is not reliable for the future of your cat.
How to Prevent Giardia in Cats? (5 Ways)
After getting your cat free from this infection using medicines or vaccination. The next step is to prevent this from happening to your cat in the future. You must follow these steps if you don’t want your cat to fall into this situation again.
- If you own more than one cat or have other pets who have not shown any symptom, make sure to tell your vet about them. The best practice is to take your other pets for the test and ask your vet for further procedures accordingly.
- Thoroughly bath your cat and other pets with shampoo to make sure that even a tiny particle of this cyst is no longer on your cat’s skin to haunt your kitten in the future.
- Make sure not to give polluted water to your cat, clean your floor regularly.
- Clean your cat litter box and food dishes to prevent Giardiasis in your cat.
- Dispose of your pet feces immediately.
- Check if Vegetables and fruits are clean or contaminated. Mostly vegetables and fruits get this parasite from contaminated soil.
Is Giardiasis Contagious?
If we talk about the transmission of this infection within cats, it’s highly contagious. However, this parasite infection can also transmit between cats and dogs too.
For humans, the immune system of humans is stronger than cats, so you don’t have to worry. But still, the best practice is to take care of your pet, as well as yourself. So, keep in mind to take necessary precaution while handling your infected cat. Take a shower after cleaning your cat’s litter box, food, and drink dishes.
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Giardiasis in cats is not the deadliest condition but still harmful, and one must get rid of this condition as soon as possible. The best approach is to take your pets for tests after six months or annually.
After the test, if your cat is infected with Giardia, make sure to give proper medication and consult your vet regularly.
Take precautionary measures while handling your infected cat. Dispose of your cat waste instantly. Wash your hands frequently so that your cat may not get Giardia in the future.