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While we usually refer to Giardia as a disease, it is actually a parasite that lives in the gastrointestinal tract.  It is transferred through fecal matter either through ingestion or inhalation.  This means that poop eating is a high risk activity but common water supplies in high traffic areas are also risky and even sniffing an infected dog’s rear can infect.  This makes it a highly contagious once an outbreak occurs.  There are two forms of the parasite; one that only infects dogs and one that can infect both dogs and humans.  After cleaning up after an infected dog, hands should be washed.  The most predictable outbreak is during first thaw, when the snow melts and all the feces that people hid in the snow, instead of cleaned up, is revealed.

The incubation period is usually a week or two from infection although all infected dogs may not show symptoms.  Once a diagnosis has been made and a treatment begun, there is a ten day quarantine period that must be strictly enforced.

  • Acute Explosive Diarrhea
  • Light Tan or Green Colored Diarrhea
  • Foul, Coppery Smelling Diarrhea
  • Mucus Membranes Expelled with Feces
  • Bright Red Blood in Feces
  • Dehydration