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My cat has Giardia

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Our kitty has had loose bowels since we picked him from the shelter three weeks ago. I took a stool sample to the vet and they called to tell me he has Giardia. I've heard of it in humans but not in Cats. We are picking up some medicine today from the vet. Has anyone had a cat with Giardia? How long does it take to correct?

Thank you.
post #2 of 10
I don’t think my cats have ever had Giardia but they were treated for it. When we brought home our puppy Bruno he had it… Boy was that a pain. He had it for 2 months and it kept coming back. I know all cases are different and my case might have been extreme since I don’t know anyone else who has ever had to deal with this.

We had to basically sanitize the house. Apparently this parasite can live in cold water up to a year (I think.. I know it’s a very long time). We had to clean Bruno’s water bowl 5 times a day (that was me being careful). His food bowl whenever he ate out of it. We washed his bedding every day, along with his toys. What we did was just do a small load everyday with his bed cover, we did not allow him to lay anywhere else. He was only allowed two toys that were machine washable. We also had to make sure that all poo in the backyard was picked up. I also washed his bum with a mild soap our vet gave us every time he did go poo.

Along with all that I cleaned the floors everyday, wiped off the sofa, basically any surface he may have touched. I did this after 1 month and 2 weeks of him being positive for giardia, after 2 weeks of doing all this hassle it went away.

This parasite is extremely hard to get rid of if you don’t take precautions. Its very easy to get rid of if you don’t mind some work.

Id like to hear other peoples stories as well. I always wondered if mine was an extreme case where he just kept re infecting himself
post #3 of 10
Depends upon the medication used. I don't know yet which meds are new and which ones are older, but Giardia, unlike other internal parasites, doesn't appear in a fecal float and appears in small "cysts" in the intestine, which are NOT shed every time a cat goes to the bathroom. Newer meds SHOULD knock it out, older meds don't necessarily knock it out. It should take 7 days of meds - but then according to the Agriculture and Rural Development Dept. of Alberta, after treatment, three fecal samples should be tested over 7 - 10 days to ensure that it has been treated.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex737

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Other than the cat's water bowl, is there anything else that should be disinfected? If so, what and how often? Should my kids be touching the cat while he has Giardia?
post #5 of 10
Gee, I'm sorry to hear about this. It's not an uncommon parasite; I've been tested for it. You usually get it from drinking contaminated water, which often turns out to be something like a pristine mountain stream (with cattle in it somewhere way upstream).

I'll bet your kitty has been feeling "off" for a long time, too.

No personal experience with it, although we treat it at the shelter on a regular basis.

I've just done some research, and there are a lot of unknowns. However, the parasite is extremely common and often causes no symptoms. It's not know if humans can be infected from the cats, but I'd be careful handling the litter box.
post #6 of 10
I'm anal when it comes to giardia - I used a litterpan with non-scoopable clay & dumped/disinfected it 2x a day.

If the vet gives you's probably a liquid form. Flagyl is very bitter tasting. It's common for cats to "foam" at the mouth after getting it. I can't remember if it's to be given with food or not.....but it often causes a decrease in appetite.

The shelter here sometimes treats with Panacur, sometimes with Flagyl. Generally for 10 days, then has a stool sample checked after the 10 days are up. It's been so long since I've started a shelter kitty on meds for giardia - I don't remember anymore.
post #7 of 10
Cotton had Giardia when we first got him. So I'll pass on the advice we were given.

I'd keep kitty away from any other pets you may have, if he's already been around them, they should all be treated for it.Litter box should be scooped and washed/disinfected at least once a day. It's also a good idea to wash/disinfect all food and water bowls and consider washing his bedding and the area around the litter area, just to be safe.

I'm not sure exactly what Cotton (and Freya) were given but it was a single dose pill and the vet re-checked him 2 weeks later. You should start to see an improvement in his stool within a few days after treatment. Cotton was doing better after 24-48 hours, so it's noticeable pretty quickly.

As for handling him - Giardia can be transmitted to humans, but you can still handle him, just make sure to wash after touching the cat and, in the case of kids, make sure they don't touch thier faces or mouths.

As someone else mentioned, Giardia is really easy to get rid of if you don't mind a thorough clean and disinfect regiment. We've had no issues since getting rid of it the first time. Good Luck.
post #8 of 10
When Manytoes was small and getting over his bout of feline dystemper, he got a secondary Giardia infection (and Coccidia, but thats another story). I agree with what everyone has said, clean and disinfect anything the cat regularly uses, especially the litterbox. Any blankets she regularly sleeps on etc. should be washed in hot water. Getting rid of Giardia infection is not the problem, preventing reinfection is, which is why the cleaning steps are really important. Manytoes was on antibiotics for an additional week. And I know for a fact, I *did* catch Giardia off of him (got cultures to prove it). This is likely because I have a sensitive GI tract myself, and had also been ill recently. I took antibiotics for a week, had a bit of the runs (ahem) and was fine.
I wouldnt worry about it, just remember not to miss any dose of antibiotic, and remember to clean/disinfect anything you can, espically just before treatment ends.
Good luck
post #9 of 10
Hannah giardia when we first got her. The vet gave her a one-dose treatment, then she had to be re-tested in a couple of weeks. We saw improvements within 48 hours. As everyone else has said, disinfect, disinfect, disinfect! Make sure you wash your hands well after every time you touch her or treat anything she's licked, played with, laid on, or urinated/defecated in.

post #10 of 10
I had to deal with that once - its nasty stuff. You can track it in on your shoes. One of my litters of kittens got that - I lost one too it as they were only about 2 months old. It takes awhile. Hope your cat is better soon.
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