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Hi everyone,
I'm new to this site this week, having gotten a 2 1/2 year old GSD about 5 weeks ago. He's an awesome dog and handsome too (you can see his pics in the Welcome New Members forum under New Member in CA). Anyway, I took him to the vet to get his shots updated and for a general checkup. She said at the time he looked very good, seemed very healthy, was a "lean 93 lbs" and to stay under 100. She said his heavy shedding was normal for the breed. She also wanted a stool sample for checking since he was new to us and the area.

I took the sample in yesterday and the vet called today to say it showed giardia. We talked about his being asymptomatic (good stools using Avoderm) -- no diarrhea or other signs of discomfort (other than being a bit lethargic over the weekend, but fine now) -- but she said that's not necessarily uncommon.

Anyway, she wants me to give him Panacur (sp?) powder for 5 days and recheck. She said he shouldn't have side effects from it (esp. diarrhea if he has none now).

This is all new to me (we had a golden retriever for 14 years with other issues, but never this). I've been trying to read up on giardia and one source says they'll be carriers for life. Another said that it's very difficult to get rid of, and to expect 'flares'.

So far, he seems really healthy, but he's shedding prodigiously, even when he's just laying around (no bald spots, hot spots, scratching or fleas), though I brush him several times per day and had him professionally de-shedded last week. The vet said that had nothing to do with the giardia.

I'd really appreciate any and all advice anyone can provide. Thanks in advance.
 

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It is true that giardia can be very hard to get rid of and sometimes that's because they have a source of it somewhere and keep reinfecting themselves. You need to treat and treat some more until this is gone as there are long term health problems if you don't and your dog can infect every other dog that gets near him.

GSDs do shed a lot, but unless he's currently blowing coat, heavy shedding is not normal. I would look into what you are feeding for this.
 

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Where in CA are you?

The problem with giardia is that it's hard to get out of your yard, and also, depending where you live, it's easy to return to the source of infection and pick it up again.

Here's how you can get it out of your yard. It's not guaranteed, but it's always worked for me.

Cut your grass as low as the mower will cut. I mean, super low, so it looks like it's dead. Then, run your sprinklers for hours so that the water soaks in about 5 inches. Don't let the water puddle and create run-off. That will just send the giardia amoeba elsewhere in your neighborhood. Your intent is to send the giardia deep into the ground with the water.

With hard surfaces -- patios, floors, etc --, you'll hear that cleaning should be done with either ammonia or bleach. I've always used ammonia; I use it pretty much full-strength. I wash everything down thoroughly, then I rinse.

Toys, including hard squeaker toys and balls that will fit, I put into the washing machine and run on the hottest cycle with a hot rinse. Same with all bedding, soft toys, and any clothes like jackets. I toss collars and leads in there too. Anything that can't be tossed in the washer, like large Jolly Balls, I wash with ammonia and rinse super thoroughly since my dogs will put their mouths on these.

Bowls go into the dishwasher on "sanitize" cycle. Vacuum the house repeatedly.

I do this routine once when I start my dogs on the medicine. I have them re-tested after they're finished with the medicine to ensure that the giardia is truly gone. Then I do the whole cleaning/rinsing/sprinklers routine once again once they've tested negative to make sure that any stray cells are destroyed before the dogs get reinfected.

Finally, I don't let my dogs drink any natural source of water, not even puddles after a rainstorm. I carry water with me on every walk and give that to them when they start to look thirsty. And I don't let them swim in rivers, lakes and streams that I know are suspect. If I'm not sure, they can't go in the water.

When we lived in California, my dogs got giardia a couple times. That's why I asked where you live. Some areas seem to have it a lot worse than others.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your prompt responses. As to where we live....we live in Newport Beach, in an urban setting (ok, maybe suburban - low rise - ....definitely not country, open spaces, etc.). As I said, we got the dog 5 weeks or so ago. Since he's been with us, he's not been anywhere unpaved, other than some walking on the grass of the greenbelt! Just walks around the neighborhood (leashed) to get him acquainted with his new home area. He has never had anything to drink other than from our faucets (clean). No rivers, streams, open water, open land, etc. A city kid.

He has not played with any other dogs (he's actually shy and seems afraid of other dogs) though he did come from a home/kennel with other dogs that is in a more rural area. We have a fenced yard, and have not had a dog in over 10 years, though we do get occasional possums, and Jerry was *skunked* in our yard the first weekend we had him. Neighbors behind us all have dogs but I've not heard of any problems.

As I indicated, Jerry came from a kennel situation, and so far as I know isn't housebroken. Especially with the amount of shedding, no way will I let him into the house now. Just rubbing him vigorously (as in play) sends hair flying all over. Previously the hair coming out looked to be the whitish, crimpy-looking undercoat...now after his professional bathing and grooming last week (could that be the cause?) with Furminator, lots of undercoat is gone, and the topcoat is shedding (black and tan/silver straight hair). Looking at the pics we took when we got him (on the newcomer forum) and seeing him now, it's obvious that he's shed a lot of hair (he's not as bulky now). He's not bald by any means, and has no bald spots, and unfortunately at this point, I have no clue how much hair constitutes "blowing his coat". Is it undercoat only, or top hair, too, that "blows"?

The vet provided me with the powdered Panacur (sp?), and I will mix it with some wet food to make sure Jerry eats it. After 5 days of this, I'm to bring in another stool sample.

In the meantime, I will do what I can to clean the rug he has (that he rarely sleeps on), and wash his Nylabone and Kong. As for the yard and deck, I will scrub them as I can, and soak the grass as I can, but it's not flat, so avoiding runoff may be an issue.

As I mentioned, he has not had diarrhea at all since we've had him and has 1-2 movements a day with the Avoderm. Barring anything negative I hear about that food, I'm inclined to keep him on it (we started him on it about a week after we got him, and he was also shedding a lot before we switched him to the Avoderm).

Thanks for all your help. We just love Jerry, and he seems crazy about us...but this has been a real shocker learning curve.
 

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Well, I haven't heard much about dogs getting giardia in the Newport area. Most the swim areas are salt water, and I don't think that giardia can survive in saline (?) There aren't any grazing cattle and few deer, which is often how it's spread (transmitted by moist soil, grasses and water sources in wild areas). So that's actually good news. Because that means that your dog probably got it from another dog. Perhaps another dog had giardia, went for a walk, pooped and then your dog had the bad fortune of sniffing or stepping in that particular set of stools.

This is why I don't let my dogs anywhere near other dogs' stools, even though it seems kind of harmless, if gross. We just never know what's in them. This also shows what it's so necessary to pick up after your dog, especially now. When my dogs had giardia, I didn't let the out of the yard until they're given the "all clear" sign from the vet.

Your dog may have even picked up giardia from one of the dogs in the kennel from which you got him. Hopefully, that's the case because that contact won't happen again.

And welcome back to dog ownership! Although they're shocking, especially in such a short time, rest assure that if a case of giardia and getting skunked are your worst experiences, than you are truly blessed!

Regardless, it sounds like Jerry is truly blessed with his new family!
And visa-versa!
 

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Yes, with massive shedding, giardia and skunking in 5 weeks, I think we've been given the "total immersion" course in pet ownership. Either that, or it's pennance for having been dogless for a decade!
 

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Hi first re the shedding. Sounds pretty normal. GSDs shed every single day of their life (more so in warm environments). In addition they will go thru cyclic "blowing their coats" related to homones in bitches, hot weather and stress. You have hot weather and the stress of new home. When blowing coat they often enter what I call the "chicken plucking stage" since it seems you are always plucking little tufts of hair that stick out and there is always hair floating thru the air. My girl is in at this stage right now ( heat and hormones). By the way the furminator cuts the hair - the worse thing you can do for a GSD. Make take up to a year to get a normal hair coat back.

Please reconsider your decision to make him an outside dog. GSDs were bred to be a people dog to live and work with their humans. Buy a rake (grooming tool not leaf manager). Buy a 59 cent girls hairbrush w/ fairly long tines. Consider taking up weaving with bags of hair that you will collect and finally Invest in a high end good vacuum cleaner and learn not to wear black when he is blowing his coat.


Re Giardia. Please Please stop with the water and 3K9 stop recommending it - it is the height for irresponsibility. Water is what ALLOWS Giardia to persist. See for explanation. http://www.marvistavet.com/html/giardia.html

A very effective way for dealing w/ parasitic infections is to go out and buy some Boraxo Hand Soap or plain borax. (The soap smells better and comes in a shaker can for easy administration). When you pick up poop (in active infestation should be asap) cover the area he went w/ the Boraxo. The borax cystals dehydrate and destroy the cell walls of any protozoa or worm ergo you prevent reinfection. This does not kill your grass either and even if it did it wouldn't be permanent. The soap is great for cleaning concrete, tile etc floor covering and again the crystals will get into any small cracks that could be hiding parasites. So a dual pupose solution and a whole lot more pleasant than ammonia.

Treatment - my vet prefers the Flagly and its worked well for me. Impt thing to know re Flagly is that it sterilizes the gut so is very very impt to repopulate with good bacteria -acidophilus etc. Go to health food store and can get capusles you break open and sprinkle on food or any feed or grain store carries Pro Bios for cattle- a powder or pastes they use for cattle. the Pro Bios is great to keep on hand because ANY time you dog is treated w/ antibiotics the same issue arises - kills the good stuff along w/ the bad and have to repopulate or often get diarehha of "unknown" origin.

The vaccine - no one has talked about the vaccine. Its not popular in the vet community (cuts down on repeat visits?). Also part of the reason not discussed in the above article is to be truly effective you have to make sure the primary infection is gone BEFORE giving it. So probably want to consider a combo Panacur/ Flagy treatment. IT WORKS GREAT. I've used, friends have used it,humans have used it all with good success. Years ago, one of my herding dogs came down w/ a very bad case of giardia (not unusual in stock situations) wh/ we struggled w/ repeat bouts of infection because of constant re-exposure in the working environment until one of my friends told me re the vaccine which was fairly new then. She new about from a human doctor who had treated himself with it. Worked like a charm - never had another problem BUT had worked w/ my vet to make sure he was really cleaned out (several treatments) BEFORE giving vaccine.

Good luck. let us know how it goes.
 

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My pup I just got got diagnosed with giardia


He has zero symptoms though. But the vet has meds waiting for me to pick up.

My guess is he got it from the humane society. He hasnt really been anywhere else that I can think he would get it.
 
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