Giardia Nightmare!

Courtforshort27

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I rescued a kitten 8 months ago. He was infested with giardia and was treated with febendazole and metronidazole. He gave it to my other two cats who were also treated the same way, at the same time. 8 months later I am still battling this problem. I was unaware how easily this spreads, because my vet told me nothing about it other than what it was and to give the meds prescribed. I did not know I had to disinfect every single surface they have touched, so it is most likely why they keep getting reinfected. As of right now, the kitten who brought it in and one of my other cats are relatively asymptotic with only small amounts of blood in formed, normal looking stool. I just finished a round of metronidazole in my other cat, who still has diarrhea. I called my vet and am waiting for her to return a call to hopefully discuss the options but this has been a nightmare. I do not know how I am going to disinfect my whole house and also keep them from reinfecting each other. I have two Ferret’s, who can also get giardia and most likely already have it, and am going to have to make a vet appointment for them as well. I honestly do not have the time or the money to deal with this situation any longer, as I have already treated them all with multiple rounds of meds and many vet appointments in between and nothing seems to beat this problem, but I refuse to give up on my animals. Any advice or hopeful words would be much appreciated.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I have never personally had to deal with giardia, but have read numerous posts on this site about it. And, I am sure the difficulty with it is multiplied by the number of cats you have (not to mention the ferrets). I am attaching an article about it so you can read up on what you may or may not have already learned, but hopefully there is some helpful information in it and how to go about treating/eradicating it.

I hope other members on this site who have dealt with this first hand - especially those with multiple cats - will come along soon and offer you some additional tips and advice on how to beat it!! They will tell you it is doable!!!
Giardia in Cats-Causes, Symptoms & treatment - Cat World
 

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Eeek! I'm dealing with giardia right now, as well. Fortunately, I just have one kitty. Even that is a hassle, though.

I guess I don't really have any words of wisdom bc I've never dealt with it on your level before.

Here's what I'm doing:
-cleaning his litter box constantly. Luckily, he doesn't spend a lot of time in the box on a daily basis, so it isn't bad.

-Once a night, I dump the litter out completely and wash the box with Dawn dish soap and hot water. There are posts on here recommending that you wash it with soap and hot water, spritz with ammonia, and then wash with soap and hot water again. I haven't done the 2nd half of that, though if this round of metronidazole didn't work, I'll do this next time. (DO NOT USE BLEACH)
Every couple days, I toss the sponge out and start with a fresh one.

-I wash his blankets every couple days, and I make sure they're bone dry before giving them back. Apparently, giardia breeds in moist places. ew.

-When I give him his meds, I put a towel down, so he's not touching the dryer (where I give his meds). That towel gets tossed in the washer and a new one gets used daily.

-I've seen mentioned on here that it should be treated with a combo of meds, but I was only given a high dose of metro. His stools have to be tested again in a couple weeks, so we'll see if it worked. In the meantime, these are the things I'm doing. I've read several things online (this site, the CDC, various veterinary sites) as well as talked with 2 vets and a nurse, and I've been told I'm doing exactly as I should.

Again, your situation is different because of the number of animals, but hopefully there are some pointers above that might help.

Are you able to split your animals up, each with their own box, for the duration of the treatment?

One last thing, when you test, and when I re-test, I have read that you should use samples over a few days because it might be present one day but not the next. I'm planning on taking samples from 3 days, and they can smush them together to do one test. Fingers crossed it worked this time.

Good luck to you!
 
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Courtforshort27

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Thanks for the replies. I just got off the phone with the vet and we are going to try another round of metronidazole for 8 days on all 3 cats. As for separating them, I don’t have enough rooms to be able to do that. As for now I am going to keep them all in my room that has an attached bathroom, that way I have a smaller area to disinfect each day. Here is my game plan and I pray it works. I am going to boil their food and water dish daily. I plan on mopping my floors each day with dish soap and vinegar. I am going to scoop the poop as soon as it happens and clean their paws and bottom with a soapy washcloth (I hope they decide to go potty when I am at home) as well as dumping and disinfecting the litter boxes daily. I have laid down a blanket so they have something to cozy to lay on because of my wood floor and I plan on that washing daily. I know they’re going to get on my bed as well so I’m going to try my best to wash my sheets every 1-2 days. I figure if I keep the area as clean as possible, the fact that they’re all together shouldn’t hopefully be an issue as they’re all infected in the first place. I am sending in a fecal sample for my ferret’s tomorrow, and if that comes back positive I will do the same thing with them but it should be much easier considering they are confined to the cage. I really hope I can get rid of this nasty parasite this go round. And I have figured out it’s best to give them their pill in a little pill ball made from wet food, so that isn’t an issue atleast.
 

Beyond Confused

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I plan on mopping my floors each day with dish soap and vinegar.
I'm not sure about vinegar. I haven't read that in any of the things I've researched. You might want to do a quick google search.

I just got off the phone with the vet and we are going to try another round of metronidazole for 8 days on all 3 cats.
Doing more than one round, in general, is not uncommon...just fyi. Hopefully it helps this time.
 

FeebysOwner

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Sounds like a plan - the key is, as you are doing, to treat them all at once and keeping them in a confined room together.

Although, as B Beyond Confused stated, check with the vet about vinegar. In the article I provided to you, here are the alternatives that were listed:
. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite or sodium dichloroisocyanurate)
. Trifectant or Virkon-Potassium peroxomonosulfateVirox,
. Accel – Accelerated hydrogen peroxide

You got it girl!!

Keep us posted!
 
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Courtforshort27

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I will definitely look into the vinegar a little bit more, I read something about it in another forum from someone who didn’t want to use bleach, but if it doesn’t kill the bacteria then there is no point. I will definitely use bleach. When I mop my floors with the bleach/soap/water mixture, will it be okay to air dry and then have the cats walk on? Or will this be toxic to them? I’m sure I can probably find the answer on google. Thanks for all the input!
 

She's a witch

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when I was fighting giardia, I did roughly what you plan to do. But I wouldn't clean a cat with soap as I'd be afraid they would lick it, I simply used warm water. I wouldn't use bleach at all as this is toxic and I never use it around cats and humans. And I read that nothing really "kills" giardia apart from the high temperature, that's why washing blankets and beds in high temperatures is so important (I needed to replace them all when they got healthy).
As for cleaning the flat surfaces at home, I did it daily with hot water with 20% vinegar as it is at least cat safe. As I said, it doesn't really kill giardia but it moves it away. But be careful not to spread it around. To avoid it I used tons of paper towels and I touched the surface only once. My vet told me that it wasn't necessary to do such cleaning everyday, but crucial to do it on 5th day of treatment. I did super detailed cleaning on day 1, 5 and last one of treatment, and "regular" cleaning on the other days. Then the same when we repeated the treatment which I hear is standard. It was exhausting but it helped.
Don't be surprised to see soft stools even after the giardia is cleared. It took my cats several months for their intestines to fully recover. I had to switch them only to RCGastro Incestinal for a month and slowly transition them to their normal food.
Good luck!
 

Beyond Confused

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Don't be surprised to see soft stools even after the giardia is cleared. It took my cats several months for their intestines to fully recover. I had to switch them only to RCGastro Incestinal for a month and slowly transition them to their normal food.
I'm so glad you mentioned this. His stools are still soft (finished treatment Sunday), and I've been giving him probiotics (and he's been on the Purina ProPlan RX Bland diet for almost 2 months now. I think the vet wanted to keep him on it for, at least, one more.) I was wondering how long it would take, so it's helpful that you gave the time frame from your situation.
 
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Courtforshort27

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Just wanted to update in case others stumble upon this thread looking for info. I have been treating all three of my cats since monday, with metro and Fenbendazole (panacur). My two cats have had no symptoms (they’ve had formed stool for months since the first episode) so I am just treating them in case they happen to be carriers. My other cat, who has had that stenchy diarrhea for months had her first formed stool today AND it was in the litter box!! YAY!!! I have never been so happy over poop. They have 6 more days of metro and 2 of panacur. I have been giving them a probiotic it wet food but they never eat all of it so hopefully it’s doign some good. I took my ferrets to the vet today, and one of them had nothing whatsoever in the stool (strange but thank God) and the other one had “giardia like cysts”.. but the vet said it wasn’t like the giardia he normally sees. So I am only treating the one ferret with metro and amoxicillin as he think it might be another type of infection ferrets get, but the metro will knock out the giardia if that is indeed the case. Here is what I’ve been doing.. I invested in a shark steamer ( it was 49$ at Walmart, not bad!) and have been steaming my floors every day. I empty and sanatize their boxes with ammonia once a day and always scoop poops when I see them. I have been washing EVERYTHING they touch so blankets and even my sheets every day, it’s so exhausting :( but I think the hard work is starting to finally pay off and I just hope things keep getting better. Paws crossed!
 
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Courtforshort27

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Well, all three kitties and the ferret have finished the medications and the watery, smelly stools are still persisting in the one ferret and the one cat. Stool sample was checked yesterday and guess what, no gairdia. I don't know whether to be happy or sad, because after MUCH research I think they may have Tritrichimonas :( I am sending the stool out for a PCR and will hopefully have the results by Wednesday. I find it funny how my ferrets' vet said he saw "gairdia like" cysts in his fecal sample, when tritrichimonas looks almost identical to giardia under a microscope. If this is indeed the case, I am not looking forward to treating the cats another 14 days with the only drug known to treat it, which causes nasty side effects. And I can not find anything on google about tritrichimonas in ferrets, it seems to have never been reported. I'm calling their vet tomorrow to see if he has ever dealt with this and hopefully it can be treated in them as well.
 

Beyond Confused

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Well, all three kitties and the ferret have finished the medications and the watery, smelly stools are still persisting in the one ferret and the one cat. Stool sample was checked yesterday and guess what, no gairdia.
I recently dealt with giardia myself for the first time, so I'm no expert here, but...
Didn't you JUST finish the round of meds for everyone? I think you're supposed to wait a couple of weeks before re-testing for giardia, at least that's what I'm having to do. My vet had me coming back after a month because my kitty has other things going on as well, but her original message to me was to wait a couple of weeks and then have him re-tested.

I'm wondering if the re-test was too soon, so it was a false negative on the giardia. Again, I'm certainly no expert here.
 
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Courtforshort27

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You’re completely right, you are supposed to wait awhile before retesting. But with all the disinfecting and multiple back to back rounds I did with my cat with clinical symptoms, even the vet agrees giardia may no longer be the culprit. When they did the fecal test that showed no giardia and when I sent the PCR out on Friday, she had been off meds for a week, so I will still cutting it close as you’re supposed to wait two weeks. My vet didn’t seem to have a concern about this though. So hopefully that will tell something. If not I will wait another week or two and send out another PCR.
 
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