DESPERATE. 10 of 16 cats with Giardia - how the hell can I contain this?

Meowmee

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Anyone know the best way to disinfect hardwood floors without damaging them? And what about when you can’t keep cats out of the area..?
Steam kills giardia and c diff. I have been steaming the house floors since Merlin tested pos for c diff
 
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moxiewild

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moxiewild moxiewild Sorry, I should have explained why we wash separately. It's not just a matter of energy conservation, i.e., not having to wash everything at a minimum of 60° C /140°F to kill off giardia, but just particular loads. Anything that could also come into indirect contact with textiles that might have been smeared with feces, like laundry baskets and the rim or door of the washer, should be disinfected after each load. Washing separately cuts down on the amount of work involved. We have people at the shelter who tend to overload the washers, too, despite constant reminders, so there's no guarantee that all the wash is completely clean, though that shouldn't happen in a private household.

I don't think there's any benefit to isolating just one cat from a group that's been exposed. Ideally, the entire group should be isolated from cats that haven't been exposed, but that's just not always feasible in a home setting. Perhaps the best you can do is separate those most endangered by (re-)infection, i.e., the elderly, the very young, the immune-compromised, from the others.

The main thing you have to worry about is contamination through feces. The CDC has some tips on cleaning and disinfecting, which also include steam cleaning : Giardia & Pets | Giardia | Parasites | CDC

One thing we also do is clip long-haired cats' backsides and wipe all the cats' rectal areas with disposable wipes every day to try to prevent smearing.
I’m still having a little trouble understanding, so bear with me.

Do you mean to wash the infected kitty groups bedding, then disinfect the washer/dryer/laundry basket before proceeding to wash the uninfected groups bedding or regular clothes/laundry?

In your opinion, should we still keep all of the kittens in separate crates?

I know that’s ideal, but they are NOT happy obviously. It also makes it hard trying to figure out how to play with them without exposing them or allowing them to interact.

There are a lot of potential issues, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that it’s impossible to find the time to play with them all individually, plus our adults, plus keep up with cleaning and disinfecting, plus go to work and doing normal, non-cat centric things.

If keeping them separated is really necessary, would an acceptable compromise be to allow them all out to play together 2-3 times a day for 30 minutes - hour?

Obviously reinfection might potentially occur from that, but we’d still be keeping bowls and litterboxes separate for the most part. They also do most of their grooming each other during nap/sleepy times and such, so that risk would also be mitigated, as they would be separated during those times (honestly, the three older October kittens are a bunch of butthole lickers so I do think some separation is absolutely required for them during times they normally like to... lick each other’s butts).

moxiewild moxiewild

Perhaps the best you can do is separate those most endangered by (re-)infection, i.e., the elderly, the very young, the immune-compromised, from the others.
Yep. That’s one of the primary issues. Most of my population fits one or more of those descriptions. Only 3 of the 16 are young, healthy adults. The rest are immunocompromised, immunocompromised and senior/geriatric, or kittens. :(
 
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moxiewild

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I kept them together. I figured if they all had it, they might as well be miserable together. Besides, they were only 14-15 days old and couldn't poop by themselves anyway. By the time they were using the box, I already had the cleaning down and just left them together for comfort.
I had them in a large dog crate to start, then moved them to a playpen.
Personally, the only isolation I would do would be the sick from the healthy. However, if one is particularly worse than the others, you may want to isolate that one. If for no other reason than so you can monitor the fluid and feed intake.
Whoops, I thought you had said weeks, not days old!

You didn’t have issues with reinfection?
 

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Do you mean to wash the infected kitty groups bedding, then disinfect the washer/dryer/laundry basket before proceeding to wash the uninfected groups bedding or regular clothes/laundry?
Exactly. It's little smears of poop on bedding, etc., that contaminate other things, and they can be transferred in very minute quantities to objects they come into contact with.

I honestly don't see how keeping all the kittens in separate crates is going to help. If they were sharing litter boxes, they've all been exposed. The tricky thing about giardia is that they don't show up in every test, plus the diarrhea is often intermittent. You might have 4 days of diarrhea, then 3 days of normal poop, only for the diarrhea to return. A lot of times we're pretty sure we have giardia based on the smell and color of the feces, but only get a positive reading on the third or fourth test. Usually somebody says, "I think we have giardia in such-and-such a litter", so we use an at-home kit to test. If that's negative, samples get sent to the vet's office. Even if those tests are negative, more samples are sent in a few days later, and they're often positive. It's frustrating. When we have a group of cats or dogs with just 1 or two animals testing positive, they all get treated, and the group remains together, but no animals are added to the group.
 
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moxiewild

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Exactly. It's little smears of poop on bedding, etc., that contaminate other things, and they can be transferred in very minute quantities to objects they come into contact with.

I honestly don't see how keeping all the kittens in separate crates is going to help. If they were sharing litter boxes, they've all been exposed. The tricky thing about giardia is that they don't show up in every test, plus the diarrhea is often intermittent. You might have 4 days of diarrhea, then 3 days of normal poop, only for the diarrhea to return. A lot of times we're pretty sure we have giardia based on the smell and color of the feces, but only get a positive reading on the third or fourth test. Usually somebody says, "I think we have giardia in such-and-such a litter", so we use an at-home kit to test. If that's negative, samples get sent to the vet's office. Even if those tests are negative, more samples are sent in a few days later, and they're often positive. It's frustrating. When we have a group of cats or dogs with just 1 or two animals testing positive, they all get treated, and the group remains together, but no animals are added to the group.
Ohh, okay, then! Yes, we already do that no matter what because I myself am immunocompromised and a bit of a germaphobe 😆 We were actually saving for an extra dedicated-animal washing machine for Christmas, but that fund was drained entirely by these vet bills, haha.

Conventional wisdom is to separate and isolate everyone to decrease the risk of reinfection. That’s what our vet had advised, and that’s what we do at work with animals infected with giardia, coccidia, or anything contagious. Obviously it’s not always possible, but it would technically be the best way to mitigate the risk of reinfection, since that’s the most difficult part of overcoming giardia.

And like I said... if the kittens are going to be literally licking each other’s butts, that’s a pretty direct means of reinfection that I’d like to prevent (for many reasons) 😂

But it’s good to know that you can still get over an outbreak without complete separation. As I mentioned, I’m a germaphobe, so I see germs everywhere and it’s difficult to gauge what’s just in my mind or disproportionate, and what’s not.
 

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Hi,
We had to deal with giardia 2 years ago.
Our new foster had it, and since we can't isolate the cats, well, everyone got it (7 at the time).
We couldn't figure out why, despite the strict cleaning regimen, and the medication (we went to see two different vets, and we were alternating between Metro and Panacur), it just wouldn't go away.
Water bowl
It seemed so obvious in hindsight. Yes, of course you wash every bedding, desinfect every litterbox, every litter scoop, but we hadn't thought about the water bowl! I still can't believe it.
Just my 2 cents, I hope you can find a solution rapidly.
 
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moxiewild

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Hi,
We had to deal with giardia 2 years ago.
Our new foster had it, and since we can't isolate the cats, well, everyone got it (7 at the time).
We couldn't figure out why, despite the strict cleaning regimen, and the medication (we went to see two different vets, and we were alternating between Metro and Panacur), it just wouldn't go away.
Water bowl
It seemed so obvious in hindsight. Yes, of course you wash every bedding, desinfect every litterbox, every litter scoop, but we hadn't thought about the water bowl! I still can't believe it.
Just my 2 cents, I hope you can find a solution rapidly.
What did you end up doing since you couldn’t separate them?

How often were you cleaning/disinfecting it after that?

We have water fountains (exclusively) for every room. I had been considering putting all of those away for this exact reason, so thank you for mentioning this!
 
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moxiewild

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Does anyone have recommendations for a steam cleaner? We’ll need one for carpets, but also upholstery.

We called around to a few places about renting one, but since we’ll be needing it more than once, it would just be cheaper to buy one...

I just have no idea what to look for, so any suggestions would be appreciated!
 

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The latest Hoover and Bissell models don't have very good reviews regarding the two plastic containers, due to breakage (clean water as well as the dirty water--just treat them with gentle care as much as possible). We were thinking of trying to find a different brand, if there is one, considering that the cleaner we have is old and hard used meaning it's going to pick the worst time to break so we were trying to be prepared.

That said, I currently have a Hoover steam cleaner and have had to replace the dirty water container once. The replacement piece seemed to be a little better made.

I think all of these machines have an upholstery attachment.
 

jcat

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Does anyone have recommendations for a steam cleaner? We’ll need one for carpets, but also upholstery.
I've had Kārcher steam cleaners for the past twenty years, and that's also what we use at the shelter. Spare parts for them are out of this world in price, though.
 

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What did you end up doing since you couldn’t separate them?

How often were you cleaning/disinfecting it after that?

We have water fountains (exclusively) for every room. I had been considering putting all of those away for this exact reason, so thank you for mentioning this!
Well, I wasn't working at the time, so I could scoop litterboxes almost as soon as they were pooped in.
Bowls were disinfected every day, and any soiled bedding was immediately washed at 90°C.
For us, the key really was the bowls, as soon as we started disinfecting them, they had their last treatment of meds, and every one was cleared.
It makes sense for a multi cats house, because cats uses the same litterboxes, clean themselves, and then drink and eat from the same bowls.

What you could consider is putting large sheets or whatever on couches, beds, etc, that you could either wash or throw out when soiled.
That could limit the spreading I think.
 
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moxiewild

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Well, I wasn't working at the time, so I could scoop litterboxes almost as soon as they were pooped in.
Bowls were disinfected every day, and any soiled bedding was immediately washed at 90°C.
For us, the key really was the bowls, as soon as we started disinfecting them, they had their last treatment of meds, and every one was cleared.
It makes sense for a multi cats house, because cats uses the same litterboxes, clean themselves, and then drink and eat from the same bowls.

What you could consider is putting large sheets or whatever on couches, beds, etc, that you could either wash or throw out when soiled.
That could limit the spreading I think.
Okay, good. We’ve been making sure to fully disinfect their water bowls at least once a day since we put the fountains away.

Your comment was very helpful since it can be so easy to get overwhelmed and lost in all the things you need to disinfect, so your comment served as a reminder of what we need to prioritize.

We’re hitting bowls, boxes, and crates the hardest and most consistently.

We’re disinfecting water bowls 1-2x a day and actually putting out a couple of extra bowls where the infected groups are, so there doesn’t end up being as much of a concentration of potential cysts in any one bowl. Current rule is one water bowl per cat + 2, but we’ll see if we can keep that up.

We’re working out kinks for food bowls. We want to pick up wet food bowls in a more timely manner since cysts thrive in a moist environment, but it’s hard when every single infected cat eats only a small portion at a time yet requires as much food as possible (they’re either a growing kitten or a too thin kidney cat!) and we’re not home enough to feed 4-6 meals a day. So still trying to work out a solution there.

The kittens are also supplemented with dry. We normally free feed a large portion at one time, only change the bowl every other day, and empty what’s left into the new bowl. We’re changing our strategy now to feed less in 1-2 servings a day (aiming for no or very little left overs) and disinfect the dry food bowls 1-2x a day.

We’re focusing on getting the three 4 month old kittens clear ASAP, since all of their adoptive families have now backed out, and they’re only going to get older and more challenging to adopt out :(

However, Ash, the younger/newer kitten (who we suspect introduced the giardia) looks like he also has ringworm now, so.......... 😭

DE1DD062-1016-4081-A065-70DE6B53EB3A.jpeg
 

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Okay, good. We’ve been making sure to fully disinfect their water bowls at least once a day since we put the fountains away.

Your comment was very helpful since it can be so easy to get overwhelmed and lost in all the things you need to disinfect, so your comment served as a reminder of what we need to prioritize.

We’re hitting bowls, boxes, and crates the hardest and most consistently.

We’re disinfecting water bowls 1-2x a day and actually putting out a couple of extra bowls where the infected groups are, so there doesn’t end up being as much of a concentration of potential cysts in any one bowl. Current rule is one water bowl per cat + 2, but we’ll see if we can keep that up.

We’re working out kinks for food bowls. We want to pick up wet food bowls in a more timely manner since cysts thrive in a moist environment, but it’s hard when every single infected cat eats only a small portion at a time yet requires as much food as possible (they’re either a growing kitten or a too thin kidney cat!) and we’re not home enough to feed 4-6 meals a day. So still trying to work out a solution there.

The kittens are also supplemented with dry. We normally free feed a large portion at one time, only change the bowl every other day, and empty what’s left into the new bowl. We’re changing our strategy now to feed less in 1-2 servings a day (aiming for no or very little left overs) and disinfect the dry food bowls 1-2x a day.

We’re focusing on getting the three 4 month old kittens clear ASAP, since all of their adoptive families have now backed out, and they’re only going to get older and more challenging to adopt out :(

However, Ash, the younger/newer kitten (who we suspect introduced the giardia) looks like he also has ringworm now, so.......... 😭

View attachment 313004
Use paper plates until everyone is clear and throw away after each meal
 

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That sounds like a nightmare. I don't have much advice on the laundry and such since I've (thankfully) never had to deal with Giardia, but I have dealt with other illnesses so I will second what Meowmee said, use paper plates for feeding. It is SO much easier to deal with just throwing a few plates away after feeding instead of having to worry about cleaning and disinfecting a bunch of bowls.

You can also use styrofoam bowls or cheap disposable plastic bowls for water. Anything disposable that you can use is ideal since you don't have to worry about cleaning it, just toss it out and replace it a couple times a day.
 
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moxiewild

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Use paper plates until everyone is clear and throw away after each meal
We tried paper plates early on and they were kind of a mess from being so lightweight and paper bowls were a bit cost prohibitive. I ordered some heavy weight mini hot dog/nacho type trays a couple days ago and we’re just waiting for them to come in now. Literally cannot wait!!!
 
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moxiewild

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I wondered, I have no idea really but that recently tipped ear doesn't look great. Sending loads of love and good thoughts!!
His ear tip had actually kind of reopened a bit last week.

We took him to the vet to have it checked out to be safe, and he thought it was fine. He assumes the scab may have come off a bit early due to the kittens playing, so healing was delayed overall.

It looks a LOT better now and almost healed. We’ll have our regular vet check it again today to be safe, though!
 
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moxiewild

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That sounds like a nightmare. I don't have much advice on the laundry and such since I've (thankfully) never had to deal with Giardia, but I have dealt with other illnesses so I will second what Meowmee said, use paper plates for feeding. It is SO much easier to deal with just throwing a few plates away after feeding instead of having to worry about cleaning and disinfecting a bunch of bowls.

You can also use styrofoam bowls or cheap disposable plastic bowls for water. Anything disposable that you can use is ideal since you don't have to worry about cleaning it, just toss it out and replace it a couple times a day.
Honestly, if it were solely up to me, I’d have all disposable food bowls AND cardboard litter boxes.

My boyfriend is really much the type to not want to spend money on something he can do himself but those two things - especially the boxes - would save us so much time.

I am still working on trying to convince him. I bought a few extra $2 plastic litterboxes for now to help, and told him I’m not cleaning them anymore, it’s his job. He laughed and just said “I know what you’re trying to do” 😆

In the mean time, I’m trying to find a source for some good box trays. We tried the ones for cans like Fancy Feast, but they are too small and the sides too low. They only work for the 4 month olds and 9 week olds, and all of them were still pooping and peeing partially outside the box with them being so small.

So we went to multiple nearby grocery stores, found boxes a little bigger and with 3-4” siding, took them to managed and asked if they could look to see if they had any and explained why.

They weren’t helpful at all...

So still looking online for a supplier, with a cost that isn’t outrageous (and we actually need to buy in bulk, so hopefully that helps). I have no idea where companies seem to buy these from? I just keep typing any key words I can think of. We’re hoping to find something 12”-14 or 16”, and AT LEAST 2” high.

Once I find those, I’ll just need to figure out how we’ll dispose of them. Trash day isn’t until Friday and we were already full by Monday as is :(
 
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