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Questions about Giardia

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Our foster kitten had digestive issues, and a fecal exam revealed she has Giardia. We noticed drops of blood in our bathroom, and couldn't figure out where it was coming from until I saw a bloody stool.
She was given something called "Panacur" and I will start her on it tomorrow.

My questions are:
1. How is Giardia transmitted?
2. Is there anything I can do to the surroundings to help eliminate the Giardia?
3. Is there anything I can do to protect Nova?

Right now, the kitten lives in our bathroom. We transport her between the bathroom and laundry room depending on our needs. We try to clean surfaces when we move her, but sometimes Nova gets in there before we get a chance to sweep the floor or wipe down the counter. Also, sometimes they sniff each other. (Kitten is in a kennel or carrier when they sniff each other.)

4. Is it possible that Nova may become infected with this level of contact?
5. What are typical symptoms of Giardia?

The kitten is very good at covering her poops, and I wouldn't have known that she was passing bloody stools had I not been looking for the source of the blood droplets.
post #2 of 4
Giardia is a single celled parasite that lives in the intestines of kitties (and others) and is transmitted by contact with infected feces or areas in and around the litter box. It could be transmitted in the blood or by mutual grooming. They shouldn't be able to transfer it with the sniffing but if Nova gets into the blood or the kitten's litter box she could get Giardia too.
post #3 of 4
If they don't have much contact and don't share a litterbox, it's not terribly likely that Nova's become infected, but I'd keep a close eye on her and get her treated right away if you see even a hint of problems - Giardia can take a week or two before they show symptoms and can be a pain to get out of a multi-cat household. Our Cotton had it when we first brought him home and the vet recommended treating Freya too, just to be on the safe side.

Giardia is usually transmitted by one cat coming into contact with infected stool or from sharing a water bowl.

To stop the transmission (and reinfection of your kitten) you'll need to clean and disinfect everything the kitten has used, litterbox, food bowls, water bowls, blankets, etc. Change the litterbox everyday, if you can and disinfect the entire bathroom as well as any carriers you've used for her and any place she's been. Also, make sure you're always washing your own hands after touching her - Giardia can be transmitted to humans.

For Nova, just keep the two of them seperate and make sure she doesn't come into contact with anything the kitten has. If cost isn't a problem, I'd consider getting your vet to give her a dose of Giardia medication, just to be safe. As I mentioned, we did this with Freya - it was a single, one-time pill the vet gave me to give to her just to make sure she didn't pick it up and so that the two of them didn't get into a cycle of passing it back and forth.

Symptoms include diarrhea, bloody stool, digestive problems. Here's a pretty good summary of Giardia, if you're interested: http://www.cat-world.com.au/GiardiaInCats.htm

Good luck. As long as everything is kept clean and disinefcted, it's not too hard to get Giardia out of a household.
post #4 of 4
Best of luck with your cat's recovery. A close friend of mine contracted Giardia while fly fishing in Arkansas early last summer. She is still unable to eat solid food and has lost a gross amount of weight.
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