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#697628 - 12/22/08 04:40 PM Giardia?
konotashi Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 4061
Loc: Mesa, AZ
What exactly is giardia, and how does a glider get it? I've read in a few places that it 'comes out' with stress. How does that happen? It's extremely contagious, isn't it?

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#697630 - 12/22/08 04:58 PM Re: Giardia? [Re: konotashi]

I'm courius to on this subject info people who know and what are signs of it in a glider

#697634 - 12/22/08 05:04 PM Re: Giardia? [Re: ]
LSardou Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 03/01/06
Posts: 21060
Loc: Kansas

What is Giardia?
Giardia is a protozoan parasite that is quite common in humans and animals. It is the most common parasite found in dogs, cats, birds, cows, etc.

Giardia colonizes in the small intestine. It is not spread through the bloodstream or through other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

Once colonized, giardia absorbs nutrients from the walls of the small intestine.

HOW Is it spread?
Giardia can be spread by the injestion of contaminated water or food, or through "poop to mouth" contact. In other words, in places where there is poor hygiene. We all know that our gliders are not the most hygienic. So, if giardia exists in the poop of one glider, and the glider comes in contact with that poop and then goes to give him/herself a bath, the giardia is spread.

It can also be spread to humans if you don't wash very well after coming in contact with a glider or cage that is infected with giardia.

Not all giardia infections are symptomatic. So, it is possible for yourself or your pet to be an unknowing host.

Cysts are excreted in the feces. Giardia cysts are VERY hardy and can survive months, even in cold or heat. Cysts also can survive without "hatching" in the small intestine of a glider for long periods of time (dormancy). Stress cna trigger a chemical reaction that will move the giardia out of dormancy.


Colonization in the small intestine results initially in inflammation. We can't see this in our gliders, so often the very first sign we have is a change in behavior since the glider will be uncomfortable.

Other symptoms include:
* diarrhea
* malaise
* nausea
* decreased appetite
* weight loss
* foul smelling stools (may smell sulphuric)

It is important to note that gliders may not exhibit ALL symptoms, so a vet visit is warranted when any symptom is noted.

While not fatal to humans, Giardia is known to be fatal to smaller animals.

Fast and effective treatment is necessary!

What is the TREATMENT for Giardia?

Treatment is usually flagyl (metronidazole)


To prevent recurrence and to aid in treatment, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.

* Cages, toys and bedding should be cleaned with bleach and/or other disinfectants. Minimize toys and items in the cage until the infection has passed.

* QUARANTINE. This is VERY important. Gliders must be kept in a separate cage. It is best if they are also in a separate room.

* Utilize a cage cover to minimize the chance of Poop being thrown outside of the cage

* Provide only bottled water

* Wash VERY well after handling a glider or cage infected with giardia. Change clothing that might have come in contact with infected surfaces immediately after handling the glider or cage. Disinfect door knobs, etc (any surface you might have touched) after as well. It is best if you wear gloves to do this type of cleaning.

#697640 - 12/22/08 05:23 PM Re: Giardia? [Re: LSardou]

Giardia is the #1 parasitic infection in adult humans. Usually when someone has a bout of diarrhea, it isn't food poisoning but giardia.

Flagyl is the typical treatment but panacur works as well.

We have no idea how long mine have had giardia but all 6 were completely asymptomatic. 4 have been treated and responded well to panacur. It is now time to retest. The other 2 will start treatment in a week or so.

#697649 - 12/22/08 06:09 PM Re: Giardia? [Re: ]

thank you i understand now

#697652 - 12/22/08 06:44 PM Re: Giardia? [Re: ]

Very informative.

#697653 - 12/22/08 06:53 PM Re: Giardia? [Re: ]
sugarlope Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 19739
Loc: in my happy place
Originally Posted By: DelilahsMom
Flagyl is the typical treatment but panacur works as well.

My vet said that panacur would do nothing to treat Giardia, unfortunately. When she asked on VIN (Veterinary Information Network) they all told her that the only treatment available in the US to treat Giardia is Flagyl (Metronidazol).

As a side note, even after the active infection is under control, the infected can shed cysts for up to 6 months (which means they may still be contagious).

Edited by sugarlope (12/22/08 06:55 PM)

If we never loved, then maybe we would never feel pain. Love anyway. It's worth it.


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