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giardia - help please :(

Hi -

First time poster on this board.  We adopted Lucky in mid-June when he was 3 months old.  We brought him to his first appointment a week after bringing him home & he tested positive for giardia.  I just got the phone call that he's still positive after his 3rd round of medication. 

We've given him his medicine as prescribed and I regularly clean our house - the only thing we haven't done that the vet said is bleach everywhere that he's gone to the bathroom.  Lucky is pad trained (reusable pads that I run through the sanitize cycle in our washer) and we don't crate him, so he still has accidents in the house.  I clean them, obviously - but I guess regular cleaning isn't good enough.  I don't want to ruin our new carpet by bleaching it - will having it professionally cleaned/steamed be just as good?  I already looked up prices in our area & they seem reasonable.  We're throwing away the 2 area rugs he had accidents on (we planned on replacing them soon anyway) and the mattress he plays on in our spare bedroom, just to be safe.  Is there anything else we should be doing?

Sorry if this is all over the place - but the vet was definitely less than  helpful on the phone & not making me feel any better.  He kept saying "ok, well bleach it" even after I told him I can't just dump bleach on our new carpets - we can't be the first couple to have carpeting and a puppy with giardia.  Then he says this is going to cause serious problems in the future if we don't treat it, as if we haven't been doing anything to help the situation.  

Lucky hasn't shown any signs of being sick and he doesn't seem to be uncomfortable at all, that's the only thing that's keeping me from getting too upset.  Although I may have snapped at the vet that maybe it's time to try a new medicine.

Any help at all is appreciated.

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Re: giardia - help please :(

  • There are color safe bleaches and I would google carpet safe bleach solutions. I think a VERY dilluted bleach solution will still work on killing the bacteria (is that what giardia is) and it will be safe to your carpet.

    Why the puppy pads? I would get rid of them asap. Does he have free roam? Crating him will help greatly with housetraining, and it will keep him from having random accidents in the house. At a minimum, confine him to an area with no soft surfaces so should he have an accident it is easy to clean/bleach.
  • A few more things. Get a second opinion. Quickly. Go to another vet, take a sample, and if you have records take them too. Just to be sure this vet knows what they re talking about. NOt to mention hopefully they will be more helpful to you.

    Do you live in an apartment/condo with public areas? Is it possible you are tracking in from outside somehow?
  • You need to find a Quaternary ammonia cleaner.  Most are bleach free. Ecolab makes a carpet cleaner called Sani-Tex.  RMC Sanex is another one. 

    For hard surfaces, I would try to find Envy by SC Johnson or Clorox IC.

    Second, you need to ditch the puppy pads.  This problem will not be fixed if your dog isn't housebroken.  He will keep re-infecting himself.  Giardia spores can shed on anything - carpet, bedding, etc.  Anything your dog's butt has touched is a source of potential contamination.

     

    Lastly, what medication has your vet been prescribing?

  • Thank you - I didn't even think to look for a color-safe bleach. 

    We live in a house, where he does roam free.  We chose the puppy pads because he is left alone while we are at work.  I know it's not an ideal situation, but he won't get much bigger than he is now (6 lbs.) so we knew we wouldn't have a problem with him using puppy pads his whole life.

    I don't remember the name of the medication (his last round was 2 weeks ago & I already threw away the bottle), but it was a white liquid that we fed him through a syringe. 

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  • There might be some infomation on housetraining in the FAQ section at the top of this board, that explains why puppy pads are counter-productive. Regardless of size, he can be trained to not go in the house during a normal workday. In the meantime, I highly reccommend that you confine him to a place with hard surfaces-the kitchen, a puppy proofed bathroom, so that you can properly clean up after him.

  • image ghowlett:

    Thank you - I didn't even think to look for a color-safe bleach. 

    We live in a house, where he does roam free.  We chose the puppy pads because he is left alone while we are at work.  I know it's not an ideal situation, but he won't get much bigger than he is now (6 lbs.) so we knew we wouldn't have a problem with him using puppy pads his whole life.

    I don't remember the name of the medication (his last round was 2 weeks ago & I already threw away the bottle), but it was a white liquid that we fed him through a syringe. 

    Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but it's clear you're having a problem with him using puppy pads, since he keeps getting sick.

    The two meds typically used to treat Giardia are Flagyl (metronidazole), which as limited efficacy and various side effects, and Panacur (fenbendazole), which is our vet's preferred method.  If this isn't what your vet has been using, I would definitely get a second opinion.

    Also, make sure you're not re-testing him too soon and getting false positives (which I find unlikely in this situation, but...).  It can take a few weeks for the dogs to stop shedding the spores in their stool.  Our vet rechecks no sooner than 3 weeks after the last dose.

    Lastly, you need to clean your house top to bottom.  Since he has free roam, he has been potentially spreading spores everywhere.  Giardia can survive weeks, even months, in spore form before finding a suitable host.

  • Soo sorry to hear this.  I have two puppies and had to deal with Giardia, not fun. 

    I threw out two area rugs, also.  I have hardwood floors and bleach did not seem like an option.  I bought the original Lysol disinfectant (brown bottle) and cleaned my floors with it.  The house smelled like a hospital, but it helped.

    The liquid medicine (I too forgot the name) was not strong enough for my puppies, boston terriers.  So the doctor prescribed Panacur.  It is a powder that you can mix with the food.

    I also made sure to wipe their booties after they went pooty.  I know I wasn't disinfecting their booties, but it made me feel better.

    After they finished their powder medication the poop can back negative for giardia.

    We figured out were our dogs originally got it from, the pet store we were grooming them at.

     We changed groomers.  No more problems 

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  • We dealt with a very similar situation, except our girl was still showing signs of giardia after several rounds of treatment.  A few things to consider...depending on the test the vet is running you can get false positives, especially if it's the ELISA test (which tests for antigens).  On this test there are some dogs that will be "carriers" of giardia and will always test positive even without symptoms.  One option for having an affirmative answer would be to have an IFA test done- which is an immunoflourescent antibody test - done through Colorado State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab.  It's a little more expensive then the ELISA test but you will know for sure if she is still positive.  If she is still positive then I would agree with pp that you may need the panacur.  However, that didn't do the trick for us...it took drontal plus...but given your dogs age I don't think a vet would recommend it. I think there are potential side effects in young puppies.  Hang in there, I know it's frustrating. 
  • Thank you all so much.  He's been retested 2 weeks after his last day of medicine every time.  They test it twice - the ELISA and then the sample gets sent to a lab. 

    I'm going to try to find the original Lysol tonight.  I couldn't find the other cleaners recommended last night.  We're going to the vet tonight to get the next round of meds.  I think it is the flagyl he's been on.  That sounds familiar.  I'm going to ask for the panacur tonight.

    Looks like I have a fun night of cleaning & giving meds ahead of me!  I'm going to start gating him downstairs (all hardwoods after we throw out the area rugs tonight) tomorrow morning.

    I can't find anything in the FAQs about puppy pads.  Is it really that bad?  I understand under these circumstances with him being sick, it's obviously not helping.  But he does a great job with the pads.  He pees on them 100% of the time & poops on them about 75% of the time.  His accidents are when we're at work.  Lucky is my first dog and he came to us a lot faster than expected (2 days after submitting our application) so I never really got a chance to do much research on housebreaking.  The only thing I found about the pads was that it was hard to switch them from pads to outdoors, but we're fine with him always using pads.  Like I said, he's my first dog so I admit, I'm still pretty clueless. 

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  • image ghowlett:

    Thank you all so much.  He's been retested 2 weeks after his last day of medicine every time.  They test it twice - the ELISA and then the sample gets sent to a lab. 

    I'm going to try to find the original Lysol tonight.  I couldn't find the other cleaners recommended last night.  We're going to the vet tonight to get the next round of meds.  I think it is the flagyl he's been on.  That sounds familiar.  I'm going to ask for the panacur tonight.

    Looks like I have a fun night of cleaning & giving meds ahead of me!  I'm going to start gating him downstairs (all hardwoods after we throw out the area rugs tonight) tomorrow morning.

    I can't find anything in the FAQs about puppy pads.  Is it really that bad?  I understand under these circumstances with him being sick, it's obviously not helping.  But he does a great job with the pads.  He pees on them 100% of the time & poops on them about 75% of the time.  His accidents are when we're at work.  Lucky is my first dog and he came to us a lot faster than expected (2 days after submitting our application) so I never really got a chance to do much research on housebreaking.  The only thing I found about the pads was that it was hard to switch them from pads to outdoors, but we're fine with him always using pads.  Like I said, he's my first dog so I admit, I'm still pretty clueless. 

    Puppy pads really are that bad for housebreaking, especially when battling something like Giardia that is easily spread.

    You are teaching your pup that going inside = what is expected of him. No wonder he is having accidents in other places around the house.

    You are okay with a dog constantly peeing on any soft surface in your house for the rest of his life? That will (hopefully) be years. Outside is your best bet (for everyone's health).

     

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  • He doesn't pee on any soft surface, thankfully.  He pees exclusively on the pads.  Obviously he had accidents in the beginning, but we expected that.  His accidents when we are at work now are poop accidents.  He seems to be having them in the same spot, so I put another pad in there for him.  That's still hit or miss though.

    Could you please explain to me why it's so bad?  I don't see how it's any less sanitary than a cat using a litter box (giardia aside - the vet told us we'd be having the same issue if he went outside since our yard isn't that big).

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  • image ghowlett:

    He doesn't pee on any soft surface, thankfully.  He pees exclusively on the pads.  Obviously he had accidents in the beginning, but we expected that.  His accidents when we are at work now are poop accidents.  He seems to be having them in the same spot, so I put another pad in there for him.  That's still hit or miss though.

    Could you please explain to me why it's so bad?  I don't see how it's any less sanitary than a cat using a litter box (giardia aside - the vet told us we'd be having the same issue if he went outside since our yard isn't that big).

    He hasn't peed on soft surfaces - yet. You are training him that soft surfaces on the floor = pee here. He may never pee on a soft surface on the floor, but why train him to go inside?

    Dogs also don't like to eliminate where they sleep, so training him to go on potty pads is going against that instinct.

    It is totally personal preference, of course, but it sounds like your giardia problems would be lessened (including having to bleach your carpet), if you just trained your dog to eliminate outside.

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  • Our only real reason for doing it is because we're both at work all day M-F.  In the little amount of research I did before he came home, I read that puppies need to be taken out every couple of hours.  We knew that wasn't possible with our jobs.  (And yes, we quickly realized that we shouldn't have gotten such a young puppy.)  Plus I feel bad for the little guy having to hold it while waiting for us to get home from work.  His pads aren't near his bed, he actually sleeps in our bed.. and we don't crate him during the day.  Basically we're doing everything we're not supposed to, it seems like - lol.  Would it even be possible to retrain him now?  He's been going inside (& being rewarded for it when he's on the pads & we witness it) for almost 3 months now.
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  • image ghowlett:
    Our only real reason for doing it is because we're both at work all day M-F.  In the little amount of research I did before he came home, I read that puppies need to be taken out every couple of hours.  We knew that wasn't possible with our jobs.  (And yes, we quickly realized that we shouldn't have gotten such a young puppy.)  Plus I feel bad for the little guy having to hold it while waiting for us to get home from work.  His pads aren't near his bed, he actually sleeps in our bed.. and we don't crate him during the day.  Basically we're doing everything we're not supposed to, it seems like - lol.  Would it even be possible to retrain him now?  He's been going inside (& being rewarded for it when he's on the pads & we witness it) for almost 3 months now.
    Sure it is possible to retrain him.

    He still has to eliminate where he sleeps (in the house). 

    It might be a good idea to crate him during the day (especially with the giardia in your house) and hire a dog walker or someone to let him out during the day while you are at work (or have one or both of you take off during your lunch break to let him out).

    My dogs are both crated during the day and they are adults. They spend a majority of their days sleeping (trust me - I'm home with them now and they barely open their eyes unless I walk out of the room). My dogs don't get into things that I'm not aware of when we are gone, because they ARE crated. 

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