Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
here for additional contact information.
Our premises are monitored via video
surveillance for your puppy's safety!
I am not a veterinarian, and do not wish
for you to use this information to diagnose a problem. Instead, it
is offered as "food for thought" for responsible and educated dog
Pronunciation: (jee ahr' dee uh)
What is it?:
Giardia is a protozoan parasite that lives in
the intestine of affected animals. Infection can occur from contact with the
environment (streams, ponds, mud puddles, or animal stools on the ground) or with other
animals carrying the protozoa. It is in the environment, and may well be
nearly unavoidable for dogs that go outdoors to play and potty....which is
almost all dogs!
Therefore, any environmental water or any place that other dogs,
cats, squirrels, raccoons, mice, etc. could have walked or left stools is a potential
It is estimated that as many as 70% of all dogs/puppies in the US
have the protozoa in their systems, though relatively few ever develop signs.
Not all animals with giardia show signs of carrying
Recent research has shown that Giardia is present in
up to 11% of the general population of pets,
and as many as 50% of all puppies.
What are the Symptoms?
signs of giardia include weight loss, inability to gain weight at a proper rate
during growth stages, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite and greasy appearing
stools that are often light in color.
An Ounce of Prevention:
deworm most of our puppies after weaning for 5 days with fenbendazole (Safe-Guard's
medicine) or Valbazen. This not only controls common worms, but also treats giardia
infections as a side benefit. Then, just prior to your puppy leaving us, we give
an anti-protozoal to boost the puppy's protection.
You could consider deworming your puppy with a
fenbendazole dewormer such as
Safe-Guard after your puppy arrives...especially if you feel the puppy has
soft stools. If this doesn't help, stress or coccidia
might be causing the soft stools. Stress symptoms should pass after a few days,
though we have found that a couple days of Pepto-Bismol (1/2 cc a couple times
each day) helps as well. Coccidia can be overcome on its
own, but we prefer to treat with medicines (very inexpensive....visit our
Coccidia page for more info).
Don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian if your puppy has
full blown diarrhea, bloody stools, or is losing weight.
Metronidazole (Flagyl) and/or Safe-Guard
The most commonly-used medication for giardia
infection is metronidazole (Flagyl) for 5 days in a row, and/or fenbendazole (Panacur or
Safe-Guard dewormer for 3 days in a row).
But, the following are often
chosen from as methods of treatment: Metronidazole (Flagyl), Furazolidone (Neftin),
Tinadazole, Fenbendazole (Panacur or Safe-Guard), and Albendazole (Valbazen).
Fenbendazole (Panacur or Safe-Guard) is
usually a liquid, and we would squirt it to the roof of the mouth with a small
syringe (no needle!) or eye dropper. It can also be purchased as Safe-Guard dog
dewormer as a powder.
Metronidazole (Flagyl) is a pill, which we would split, crush, and then mix with
water or tuna juice or orange juice, but is sometimes available as a thick
liquid. Again, then we would squirt it to the roof
of the mouth with a syringe (no needle on the syringe) or eye dropper. Or, a
small cube of Velveeta cheese can
be used to surround the pill, which can be given as a treat if the dog/puppy
likes to wolf down Velveeta without chewing.
Metronidazole apparently does not taste yummy.
Most puppies won't eat food that has metronidazole stirred into it.
But, you can trick them into eating it, and can also force feed it.
Options for getting puppies to take pills:
Cost of treatment from our vet: We can get fenbendazole (Panacur,
liquid form) for about 12₵ (yes, that is cents) per cc. For a 10-lb puppy, we'd
give about 2 1/4 cc's per day. A 5-lb puppy would get just over 1 cc per
day for 3 to 5 days.
We get metronidazole (Flagyl) pills for 17
each, 250 mg (one pill would last for 2 days for a 5-lb puppy). Our vet would recommend
5 days of
both medicines at the same time. Here is a cost estimate I worked up in
about 2012. I
increased the actual cost, because we live in a rural area in a part of the US
with a lower-than-average economy. But hopefully, it would be similar to the
cost from your vet.
Not very expensive, thankfully. Wouldn't it be nice if human
medicines were this cheap? :-)
Also, we have to keep in mind that different veterinarians
mark up their medicines differently. We've seen vets in cities (Pasadena,
Boston) mark up and give dog wormer at 35,625% (you read that right...over 35
THOUSAND percent!) over our own cost. And remember, your vet gets it cheaper
than I do.
But wait...THERE'S MORE!
Flagyl pills (above) are identical to the pills you can buy at
pet supply stores for fish tanks, called FISH ZOLE. We get generic Flagyl
from our veterinarian for less than 30 cents per pill, but have
heard of vets charging as much as $10 per pill. If our vet was charging
ridiculous prices, we'd sure check out getting FISH ZOLE, which is identical at
this time, instead of lining our vet's pockets! For a 25-lb dog, one 250 mg pill can be
given daily for 5 to 7 days. A 10-lb puppy could get one half of one pill.
http://www.beaglesunlimited.com/beaglehealth_giardiasis.htm tells more about
FISH ZOLE treatment for giardia.
Since contamination can occur from an activity as simple as
taking your dog for a walk through a park, it is possible that treatment
might have to be given more than once over the lifetime of any dog. There is a
vaccination available, though it's efficiency is in question. Ask your vet if
you feel you live in an area where giardia infection may be a problem (especially
prevalent in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or near
lakes/streams or in moist climate), or if you frequently camp or visit ponds,
lakes, or streams with your dog.
Giardia is not the cause of
diarrhea all the time, though. The following information is
not necessarily about giardia.
Some of the many causes of diarrhea include:
Digestive Upset, general (stress induced,
Parvo (very serious, potentially lethal)
Non-Medicinal Treatments for Diarrhea:
If your puppy has liquid/water consistency to stools, and not
solid or pudding type stools, it's time to contact a vet. Liquid stools are a
sign of bad diarrhea, and could lead very quickly to dehydration. Dehydration
can lead to death. So, totally liquid stools are not to be taken lightly. See or contact
But for "soft" stools, there "usually" is not a danger to the
puppy requiring a vet trip. If you had soft stools, would you go to the doctor?
If a puppy has "soft" stools, with a consistency like pudding, as long as the
puppy is drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, the concern is much, much less.
Remember, I am not a vet and don't recommend anything. These
are just things we've tried or heard of. These ideas might not fix the problem
if the cause is a protozoa, but they can help control diarrhea in general:
- Plain or vanilla yogurt (with cultures). Can mix with a
little cottage cheese.
- Buttermilk (with active cultures).
- Pepto Bismol (2 to 4 times daily for a couple days, 1 cc to
3 cc's each time, depending upon puppy's size...I have heard 1 tsp per 10 lbs
is also a common dosage). Or, crush a Pepto (or generic equivalent) tablet and
mix with canned dog food. Along with this, you can offer Pedialyte to help
- Herbs for diarrhea (we've never used these, but an example
- Fasting. For early diarrhea signs, you might
withhold solid food for a day. For small puppies, do NOT withhold water. In
fact, for small puppies, I don't recommend fasting. But for a 6 month old
puppy, it can help to withhold food for a day, and then just offer the bland
food in the next bulleted item.
- Bland diet: rice flavored by boiled chicken for two days
(bland foods). Boil rice with a chicken breast for 20 mins (1 c rice, 2 c
water, 1 chicken breast). Feed only the rice for two days. On day three, offer
some of the chicken breast. If diarrhea goes away, slowly return to
regular dog food.
- Canned pumpkin
- New treatment I will be looking into in order to include it here...at this
time, I have only heard of it, but have not tried it: