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!
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.