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Repeated bouts of Giardia.

Species: Dog
Breed: Boston terrier
Age: 3-6 months
Our 4 month old Boston terrier Gidget was diagnosed with giardia over 6 weeks ago. She has been a solely indoor dog up until recently because she wasn't fully up to date on her vaccines. She has undergone 2 rounds of liquid Flagyl and 1 round of pills plus 4 rounds of Panacur-c with unsuccessful results. Our vet suspects she's reinfecting herself. We wipe her feet and backside with baby wipes when she defecates, we bathe her once every two weeks, and we mix a teaspoon of wetted food grade diatomaceous earth with her breakfast every morning.

Up until this week she'd been potty trained using a potty training apartment where the bed and potty were in the same large crate but with a partition that allowed the two areas to be separate. But we suspect she was eating the newspaper while we were gone at work for the morning since we often found newspaper bits in her bed. We're now potty training her the traditional way using the great outdoors!

My questions include the following:

Given the amount of time she's been on these antibiotics and dewormers is there a possibility that the Giardia has become resistant to them?

Are there other antibiotics, dewormers, supplements, foods or other treatments that can be effective at treating giardia?

We've refrained from enrolling her in training classes because of the giardia but I fear she'll miss the window of puppy socialization if she doesn't get healed soon not to mention the fact that her poor GI system has been disrupted for so long by this parasite. However, she has had no obvious physcial ill effects from the panacur or flagly.

Any thoughts on how we can cure her of the giardia after this 6 week journey would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Tricia

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Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi and thank you for your question.

Giardia can sometimes be quite tricky to deal with. I have had a few cases where we had a really hard time clearing Giardia. Often the Giardia will go away if we use a combination of Flagyl (metronidazole) and Panacur (fenbendazole). But it sounds like this is not working in your case.

There are alternate drugs that can be used, but I do not personally have experience with them. You can ask your vet about the possibility of trying Nitazoxanide (Alinia) or Tinidazole (Tindamax).

If reinfection is a continuing problem then some vets believe that putting the dog on a good probiotic will often help the intestines to be able to resist giardia. Again, this is something you'll want to talk to your vet about.

It's hard to say whether the giardia has become resistant to the medication or whether she is just getting reinfected.

Unfortunately, if she still has giardia and has symptoms (i.e. diarrhea) then going to puppy classes is probably not wise. Hopefully she will be healed soon so that you can start classes soon!

I wish I had more to offer. The best advice I can give is not to give up on your vet. Keep following their advice and eventually you will kick this!

Marie



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

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