Giardia - Eating Grass
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  • Here is a great article on a common antibiotic used often by vets for giardia. Giardia is something that both of my basenjis catch often. They received thier vaccines for it (Caesar as a puppy) and Beta at the time of rescue. There are several ways to catch it, but I think mine get it from eating the grass that another dog peed on. Flagly is the common drug to treat this parasite and Flagyl was perscribed for Caesar after he was put to sleep to have his teeth cleaned.

    Beta was on Flagyl the full month that they were trying to diagnose what was wrong with her. I always wondered if it potentially was upsetting her stomach, but will never know.

    Caesar has been on it for 4 days now and i am noticing irritability after he has his dosage. The bottle states that it is to be take with food, so it may be upsetting his stomach. I am curious if any of you have seen similar reactions to Flagly.

    The last medicine the article mentions is Fenbendesol is much stronger and is given as white liquid in a syringe. Anyone have any feed back with this drug Flagyl? And, do your guys get giardia a lot? Caesar was vaccinated for it twice and still gets it.

    Giardia: A Critical Look At Treatment Options

    Jennifer Yearley, DVM, Washington

    First published in Basenji Companions' newsletter March-April 1999

    Giardia is a one-celled protozoan parasite that is a fairly common cause of diarrhea in dogs. By mechanisms that aren't well understood, the organisms interfere with absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, usually resulting in a characteristic, smelly, "cow-pat"-like stool. A number of drugs are available to treat this condition, among which are metronidazole (trade name: Flagyl), an antibiotic; albendazole (trade name: Valbazen), a wormer primarily used in cattle, sheep, goats, and swine; and fenbendazole (trade name: Panacur), used commonly as a wormer in dogs.

    Of these drugs, metronidazole (Flagyl) is probably the most commonly prescribed. However, according to information provided by parasitologists at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine and various published sources, between one-third and one-half of Giardia strains may be resistant to metronidazole. In addition, metronidazole is a drug with some significant toxicity issues. It has been implicated as a teratogen (cause of birth defects), and possible carcinogen, and can be associated with significant (reversible) neurotoxicity. Because of such issues, this is one of a relatively small group of drugs that is completely banned for use in any animal intended for food, for fear that any residues might enter the human food supply. While I'm sure note of us are planning to turn our Basenjis into burgers (!), such restrictions do bring home the seriousness of the matter.

    Albendazole (Valbazen) is a drug that has been shown to have very high efficacy against Giardia, and in general has a very high margin of safety. However, there have been recent reports about severe bone marrow suppression (yielding serious anemia, very low levels of white blood cells and dangerously low levels of platelets) in small animals treated for Giardia with albendazole. Such reactions would appear to be very rare, but are something of which to be aware.

    Fenbendazole (Panacur), seems to me to be the drug of choice for treatment of Giardia. It has been demonstrated to have excellent efficacy against the parasite, and is extraordinarily safe. It does not produce toxicity even at doses 100 times the recommended dose, and has been reported to be safe even for extended daily treatment in pregnant bitches and neonatal puppies.

    In conclusion, I want to be careful to emphasize that there are definitely legitimate uses for metronidazole. It has, for instance, superb action against certain types of bacterial infections and several protozoal organisms and in such cases may be absolutely the drug of choice. In such circumstances, one should not hesitate to use it. However, in this case, there is a more reliable and much safer alternative. Fenbendazole is what I would use on my own dogs and what I will prescribe to my clients once I'm finished with my training and out in the real world again!

    Bibliography
    Barr SC and DD Bowman. Giardiasis in dogs and cats. Compend Contin Educ Prac Vet 16(5):603-614
    Stokol T, et al. Development of bone marrow toxicosis after albendazole administration in a dog and a cat. JAVMA. 1997, June 15; 210(12):1753-6.
    Plumb, DC. Veterinary Drug Handbook (3rd ed.). Iowa State University Press. Ames, IA 1999.
    Tilley, LP and FWK Smnith. The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult. Williams & Wilkins. Baltimore. 1997.

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  • I have never heard of a vaccine for Giardia! Interesting! I think for one of my cats we used Panacure in the past for a suspected case of Giardia. And I think I would use that again.

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  • Well, they vaccinated Caesar as a puppy and he had a case of Giardia when he was 7months old, so the vaccine didnt do much. He was on the wellness plan at Banfield. They have a warranty on their vaccines and gave him another vaccination for it and he still gets it.

    Caesar has probably had Giardia about 4x in 6 years. A sign of Giardia is Diarhea every time he poops.

    Beta had it 2x in 4 years.

    I have had doctors tell me the vaccine is pretty crappy and Beta's vet doesnt even use it.

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  • When Nicky was about 18 months old he had Giardia, the vetI had at the time prescribed Flagyl and then it would recur and they would represcribe this happened about 3-4 times, I was frustrated because it wasn't going away. Finally, I tried Panacur which is Fenbendazole. Cleared it up and none of the recurring episodes every 4-6 weeks.

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  • yeah, I have had the same thing happen. One dose wont get rid of it. I really think it is making him snarfy as well. I will talk to my vet the next time I go in and do the Fenbendezol only from now on.

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