Giardia in Cats

If your cat has recurrent diarrhea, giardia could be the cause. The single-celled intestinal parasites can be dangerous, especially for young and weakened animals. You can find out what else you need to know about Giardia in cats in the following article.

How Dangerous is Giardia in Cats?

Giardia in cats is not to be trifled with. Recurring diarrhea causes considerable loss of fluid, especially in young cats, which can be life-threatening. Giardia is also contagious to humans.

Symptoms: what are the main signs of the disease?
Not every infection with Giardia (giardiasis) causes severe inflammation in the intestines in cats. How pronounced the symptoms ultimately always depend on the immune status, the age of the cat, and the amount of Giardia ingested.

Giardiasis manifests itself, especially in young cats, with the following symptoms:

  • watery to bloody diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite, emaciation, and vomiting
  • apathy
  • shaggy, dull fur
  • Dehydration

Older cats in particular often show no symptoms of giardiasis. However, since they still excrete the pathogens, they may infect other animals or their owners.

Diagnosis: How Can Giardia be Detected in Cats?

As a general rule, you should always see your cat to a veterinarian if she has had diarrhea repeatedly or for more than two to three days. You should also have non-specific symptoms such as emaciation or decreased appetite of your fur nose clarified.

The best way to get a quick diagnosis is to bring a bulk sample with you when you visit the vet. This should contain feces from three consecutive days. The cat does not excrete the Giardia continuously, so several samples must always be examined.

Rapid tests are now available for veterinary practices to identify Giardia in cats. The result can then be read within ten to 15 minutes.

Therapy: What Treatment Options are There?

If the examination shows that your cat is infected with Giardia, various medications are available to the veterinarian. Usually, the active ingredients fenbendazole or metronidazole are used. You will need to give the medication orally for several days.

Since Giardia are extremely stubborn, the treatment is, therefore, best carried out in two cycles with a three to five-day break in between. After that, another fecal examination must be carried out. Once the parasites have been eliminated, therapy is over.

Thoroughly clean the area

Furthermore, the successful treatment of giardiasis always includes a thorough cleaning of the entire environment of the cat. Commercially available disinfectants unfortunately do not work against the Giardia cysts in the area. They either die from drought or temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius.

Prognosis: What are the chances of recovery from giardiasis?
With the right treatment of the animal and the environment, you can get the Giardia in your cat under control. If there are other animals in the household, you should treat all other animals as prophylactic. Otherwise, your fur noses will infect each other again and again.

Causes: How Does the Disease Come About?

Giardia intestinalis is an intestinal parasite that is widespread throughout the world, including in cats. The protozoa colonize your cat’s small intestine and thereby trigger the typical symptoms.

Giardia cysts are formed by dividing the so-called trophozoites in the cat’s small intestine. The cat then excretes this with the feces and thus infects other animals. The cysts are also very resistant outside of the cat. Therefore, transmission is also possible via surfaces and contaminated objects.

Prevention: How Do I Avoid Giardia in Cats?

The following measures are useful for Giardia in cats so that your fur nose does not get infected again and again:

Collection of excrement and cleaning with highly heated water (over 60 degrees Celsius)
regular disinfection of litter boxes, feeding places, and surfaces
Grooming with special shampoos (infectious cysts could become lodged in the coat and lead to new infections)

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *