Giardiasis in cats

It is our responsibility to take the cat to the vet whenever it is sick.

From the first moment we decide to live with a cat we have to be very aware that, in addition to affection, food, and a good place to live, it will also need veterinary attention whenever it needs it, such as when we suspect that it is sick. And there are many diseases, such as giardiasis, that can put you in danger unless something is done to prevent it.

But not only that, but it is also spread from felines to humans. For all these reasons, we are going to tell you all about giardiasis in cats.

Giardia, the cause of the disease

Giardia lamblia seen through the microscope

Giardia is a protozoan parasite that can cause some mammals (cats, dogs, among others) to develop giardiasis. It may be of the kind Giardia Lamblia o giardia intestinalisIn any case, it is shaped like a flagellate protozoan that can only be seen through a microscope. It takes two forms: as a trophocyte, which is the parasite itself that lives inside the intestine, and the form of cyst, which is the hardest part and without flagellum that is housed in the cat's feces.

Once the trophocyte enters the feline's body, it moves towards the intestine, adhering to its walls, which ends up deforming it. By doing so, this organ will begin to have problems absorbing the fats and vitamins that the cat needs.

Giardiasis, a serious disease

Giardiasis is a disease that affects first the small intestine and then the large intestine of the cat. A) Yes, produces digestive problems, with what the health of the cat worsens much. What's more, any furry can end up sick, although it is more common in those who are very young or very old, or in those who have low defenses, for example as a result of feline leukemia. furry living in shelters are also at higher risk.

It is a serious pathology, very contagious (between cats and / or dogs, but also from cats to humans) and can be fatal if not treated in time.

How is it spread?

Giardiasis can be spread from cat to cat through water

Our cat you can get it in any of these ways:

  • Drinking from puddles or troughs where a sick cat has drunk.
  • By maternal-fetal contagion (from mother to children).
  • If a sick cat licks its anal area, then it licks another feline.
  • By having direct contact with contaminated feces, for example, inadvertently stepping on them and then licking themselves.
  • If we have a sick cat or dog, it can easily infect the other if they lick or have contact with feces.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Giardiasis in Cats are the following:

  • Diarrhea, which is usually abundant and appears from one day to the next
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Intestinal disorders

It is important to know that some cats will not show symptoms, but still, it does not hurt to do some tests and treat them in case they have been infected.

How do you make the diagnostic?

Giardiasis can only be detected through a microscope

The vet will ask us to let's bring you a stool sample, which we will take having put on rubber gloves before. This sample it will be sent to a lab for testing. In case nothing is detected, the safest thing is to ask us for more samples to perform this test again, since it is often difficult to detect the presence of the parasite.

Another option is to perform a test called Elisa, which is able to tell us if the cat is sick or not in just eight minutes.

How is it treated?

Once the vet has diagnosed giardiasis in our furry, prescribe deworming medications that you will need to take for 7 to 12 days in a row. It is very, very important that we do not forget for a single day to give her the pill, otherwise the giardias would get stronger again.

In addition, all places where the animal is must be well cleaned, with hot water (it should burn) with a few drops of dishwasher -you can also use bleach-. After each cleaning, we will wait for the area to dry completely before letting the animal go there.

Another thing we also have to do is help you clean. Diarrhea, being abundant, can leave spots on the coat. For this reason, it is advisable to trim the fur in that area a bit, and clean it - always having put on rubber bands before - with warm water (about 37ºC), and some gauze or towels.

Can it be prevented?

Don't let your cat go outside. This way you will prevent it from being infected

It is a serious disease, but taking certain measures can be prevented:

  • With a vaccine: it does not prevent 100%, but something is always better than nothing.
  • Clean: This is obvious. You have to clean both the house and the objects in it, especially the cat tray.
  • Not let it out: If you do not have contact with street animals, the risk of contagion will be drastically reduced.
  • Check-ups: at least once a year you have to take him to the vet for a checkup.
  • Watch him for diarrhea: If they do not pass in a few days, consult a professional.

I hope it has been useful to you 🙂.

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