Giardia - treatment and sanitizing?

dkb817

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
230
Purraise
173
Now that we have a definitive diagnosis of Giardia, thought I'd create yet another thread (I'm so sorry Admins/Mods; I know my cat is a ever-evolving slidehow of medical maladies)

The vet has prescribed a pill (I'm assuming Panacur, but I haven't gotten it picked up yet; Will update when I do) to treat the illness itself, but I have several questions, and I figured someone here would have enough experience with Giardia to help me:

  • Could this explain the increased hunger? I know with parasites, cats typically have DECREASED appetite but Simon is just RAVENOUS with his wet food, frequently requiring 3 cans a day (I try to make it every 8 hours, but he normally starts letting me know he's hungry again at the 6 hour mark. He gets wet food only, and will soon be transitioning from Fancy Feast to Hills C/D Multicare for crystals/FLUTD issues)
  • He's been borderline constipated the last few days, rather than having diarrhea. To be fair, he's had off-and-on stool issues for nearly two years now, but could this be tied to the Giardia as well? Could it be that, this whole time, he's actually been dealing with Giardia and just never had enough of a 'load' to test positive prior to now? (He DID have a fecal flotation last year when we thought he might have had worms, but it came back negative for everything)

  • How should I go about sanitizing his water fountain? It's plastic, and can't go through the dishwasher (I'm looking into upgrading to a porcelain fountain, but they're expensive and he's super picky as it is and will absolutely flip his water dish if he doesn't like it). I typically just use hot water and liquid ivory dish soap and never had issues prior to this.

  • How should I go about cleaning/sanitizing his crate/crate tray/litterbox? The vet suggested just soap and water should be fine, but idk. Everything I'm reading suggests otherwise and I want to make sure this is GONE asap, so we don't have a flare during the holiday season when many vets are closed or when the snow/ice begins and we can't safely get to the vet's office. We have lysol wipes and I'm sure I could make a bleach/water mixture, if that would be more ideal.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

dkb817

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
230
Purraise
173
mrsgreenjeens mrsgreenjeens - Thanks for the link!

The prescription is for Flagyl and is apparently a 1/4 of a pill every 12 hours until I've gone through the script, which is fine, because I know I can crush those little stinkers up no problem (though I'm suddenly very glad that I invested in pill-cutting scissors; Tiny pills are...an experience to try and cut into quarters)
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
14,213
Purraise
18,939
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
mrsgreenjeens mrsgreenjeens - Thanks for the link!
The prescription is for Flagyl and is apparently a 1/4 of a pill every 12 hours until I've gone through the script, which is fine, because I know I can crush those little stinkers up no problem (though I'm suddenly very glad that I invested in pill-cutting scissors; Tiny pills are...an experience to try and cut into quarters)
I don't have any experience with giardia, but I am curious what tool you are using to split those small pills into quarters. I give Feeby H-T meds and they are also tiny and very challenging to cut into 4 pieces. I know there are tons of items on the market, but I am actually looking for one someone has used and has had success with.

My asking you this will also 'bump up' your post so perhaps some of the members who I know have dealt with giardia will see this thread and offer some tips!
 

Juniper_Junebug

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Oct 21, 2020
Messages
397
Purraise
770
I just went through this. I bought a small steam mop with different attachments that I used to clean certain things. My vet said I didn't need to go overboard, so I just did the carpets, sofa, some toys, litterbox etc. at the beginning and end. I never did the floors because I read mixed things about steam cleaning engineered hardwood. I bathed kitty at the end of the treatment. I haven't gone back for another stool test, so I suppose it remains to be seen if I did enough.
 

BlackCatOp

Black Cats Rule!
Adult Cat
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
230
Purraise
231
Location
Cat Cuddling (USA)
mrsgreenjeens mrsgreenjeens - Thanks for the link!

The prescription is for Flagyl and is apparently a 1/4 of a pill every 12 hours until I've gone through the script, which is fine, because I know I can crush those little stinkers up no problem (though I'm suddenly very glad that I invested in pill-cutting scissors; Tiny pills are...an experience to try and cut into quarters)
Flagyl/metronidazole is very bitter and most cats will foam/drool when they taste it. If you intend to crush and hide in food it may not work for this medication. If you have difficulty with pilling I suggest getting empty gelatin capsules to conceal the bitter taste. As far as cleaning, I would clean/replace litter material several times throughout treatment and I would use a freshly made batch of 10% bleach solution OR a Quaternary ammonium based cleaner. Cats are very sensitive animals so make sure what ever you use is rinsed well. Phenol containing products such as Pinesol and Lysol are toxic to cats.

Basically, I would focus my attention to litter boxes, food/water bowls and major sleeping areas.

I don't have any experience with giardia, but I am curious what tool you are using to split those small pills into quarters. I give Feeby H-T meds and they are also tiny and very challenging to cut into 4 pieces. I know there are tons of items on the market, but I am actually looking for one someone has used and has had success with.

My asking you this will also 'bump up' your post so perhaps some of the members who I know have dealt with giardia will see this thread and offer some tips!
Believe it or not, suture removing scissors work very well for splitting most pills. If the pill is scored, then it will usually break with just some downward pressure placed (no scissors needed).:

1607203268928.jpeg
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
14,213
Purraise
18,939
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
Flagyl/metronidazole is very bitter and most cats will foam/drool when they taste it. If you intend to crush and hide in food it may not work for this medication. If you have difficulty with pilling I suggest getting empty gelatin capsules to conceal the bitter taste.
With bitter tasting meds, I have been successful with getting Feeby to take it in Gerber baby food meats (Stage 2, which contains no onions, etc.), the 'juice' from canned tuna or chicken in water, and a number of different squeezable/lickable treats. If the amount of medication is small enough, it doesn't take much of any of these to 'drown' out the bitterness. That way I know she has taken it all. There was one particular med that made her foam at the mouth when administered alone, but she never even noticed it when given to her with one of the above.

Believe it or not, suture removing scissors work very well for splitting most pills. If the pill is scored, then it will usually break with just some downward pressure placed (no scissors needed).:
Thanks! These pills are tiny and, while scored in halves, they don't always break according to the score - tried several different knives. And, then to take each half and split it in two again is a near impossible feat for getting equal parts, especially if the initial score wasn't successful. Have you used the scissors you recommended with success? The pill I have is the generic Methimazole, 5mg - if you have, by chance, seen them before. Once this prescription is done, I will be transitioning to another H-T med that only needs to be split into two parts.

Still interested in hearing what device dkb817 dkb817 is actually using that has been successful for them!
 

moxiewild

Seniors, Special Needs, Ferals, and Wildlife
Super Cat
Joined
Aug 4, 2014
Messages
1,041
Purraise
1,418
I’ve worked with giardia a lot in a shelter environment, and then last year I had an outbreak among 16 immunocompromised cats in my home (the outbreak was simultaneously happening alongside ringworm and a highly resistant roundworm, as well).

1. Yes, giardia can cause an increase in appetite, although I don’t recall the mechanism of action. It would be beneficial to report the extent of this to your vet just to be sure, though.

2. Giardia typically does not cause constipation, but in rare cases it can. Again, this is something to keep an eye on and report to your vet so you don’t end up with “tunnel vision” assuming it’s giardia when it may be something else.

Also, fecal floats are wildly inaccurate for parasites like giardia. They miss a significant amount of cases, as the parasites only intermittently lay eggs. So, if your cat isn’t currently shedding oocysts, a fecal float won’t catch it.

A PCR, in contrast, is highly sensitive and detects the actual pathogen DNA, regardless of oocyst shedding.

We never bother with fecal floats unless there is something time sensitive going on (PCR can take a few days for results), and we always do it in conjunction with a PCR. My clinic won’t even do fecal floats most of the time anymore because they were missing so many giardia cases.

Very possible your kitty has been infected for a while!

3. We have 8 water fountains around the house (big house, lots of cats). But when we were dealing with giardia, we put them all away and used regular bowls.

Giardia thrives in water. So the two things we made sure to clean and disinfect every single day, no matter how tired we were, were the food and water bowls (this is the main means of transmission, even more than litterboxes). And that’s way too cumbersome to do with fountains!

I would try to find a regular bowl he likes. Many cats love huge bowls, like a salad or mixing bowls, or a baking pan, so maybe try something like that if he doesn’t like regular ones.

Copper water bowls are also anti-microbial and can make the water taste “cleaner” to some cats (never use it for food, though), so that may be something to try, as well.

4. The physical action of scrubbing will remove most oocysts, but they are very sticky, so disinfection is the only way to guarantee complete removal.

Lysol is relatively toxic to cats, so treat it like bleach if you use it (meaning rinse THOROUGHLY). But I would not use wipes. They’re nearly impossible to actually disinfect with, as the surface needs to remain wet for 10 minutes and wipes as a vehicle make that more difficult.

I would highly recommend getting Rescue instead -

Amazon.com : rescue disinfectant

In order to disinfect with bleach, you must thoroughly clean the surface first, then thoroughly rinse it, and make sure it’s completely dry.

Then you can disinfect with the bleach, which requires a 10 minute contact time (amount of time surface must remain wet). Then the bleach must be very thoroughly rinsed away.

Bleach also has noxious fumes, can bleach surfaces, is highly corrosive, very toxic, and incredibly unstable.

Rescue requires precleaning only if a surface is heavily soiled. It contains detergents, so it can clean and disinfect simultaneously. It is also far more resistant to organic matter, whereas bleach is virtually inactivated by it.

The contact time for Rescue is also half of what it is for bleach, and doesn’t necessarily need to be rinsed, as the formula converts into water (we rinse anyway [especially for food/water bowls], but not nearly as much/long as we do for bleach and QUATs).

Rescue can cause some respiratory irritation when sprayed in large amounts, but it is non-irritating and non-corrosive to eyes, skin, and surfaces. It’s less likely to bleach items, and to be honest, I’ve applied it to all sorts of things and it’s never bleached or lightened anything so far.

Overall, it is non-toxic, extremely safe for animals, and sooo much more convenient.

This stuff is a godsend for disinfection, especially when doing it frequently. It’s absolutely worth the investment if you can afford it.

We’ve used it where I work for so long, but for years I refused to pay for it for use at home because bleach and QUATS are so cheap.

But I broke down during our massive outbreak last year and finally bit the bullet. We don’t use bleach or ammonia at all anymore.

I swear I am not in anyway affiliated with the company, lol. It just saved my butt last year when we were having to disinfect a big house and items for 16 cats (16 cats eating wet food twice a day + water bowls = at least 40 bowls that needed to be disinfected every day, 17 litterboxes, multiple crates, toys, etc).

My recommendation, is don’t drive yourself nuts.

Disinfect food and water bowls daily, and don’t let this be negotiable. We disinfected water bowls twice a day to prevent oocyst transmission.

If your kitty isn’t so picky about food bowls, using disposables like this can help (and are also just nice to have for those days you inevitably just aren't in the mood, short on time, or too tired to deal with it) -

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CLF6QQC/?tag=thecatsite

Use as little litter as you can get away with, and switch to something cheaper if you can so that you don’t have to feel so guilty frequently throwing it out. Cheap clay or pine pellets from Tractor Supply (if kitty will use them) are good alternatives.

Try to completely change out litter and clean and disinfect the litterbox daily, or every other day.

(Again, for days you’re just too tired or short on time, using a cardboard with a puppy pad underneath can help lighten the load if kitty will use it).

Don’t forget to disinfect toys (we put away all toys that weren’t plastic while dealing with this), and if kitty will use them, switch out carpet or sisal scratchers for cheap cardboard, which is easier to vacuum.

Alternatively - we bought some cheap sisal mats and cut small planks of wood at Home Depot. We fastened the mats onto the wood with strong Velcro strips, that way we could remove the mats frequently to disinfect on the hot setting on the washing machine.

Put away nice bedding and blankets the cat uses, and trade them for cheap towels and fabrics so you don’t have to worry about washing anything on the hottest setting, either. Try to wash bedding and everything 2-3x a week (although daily is ideal if you’re really determined!).

Same with vacuuming, mopping and disinfecting hard surfaces (including toys) - ideally daily, but 2-3x a week at minimum.

I would not bother with steaming anything. I did SO much research into this, and research suggests that commercial steamers simply don’t get hot enough (or require holding it over a single spot for 3+ minutes), and leave things too wet, which actually provides a better environment for pathogens to proliferate. Vapor steam is the best way to go, and true vapor steamers are incredibly expensive.

If at all possible, keep kitty contained in a single room (so long as youre confident you’ll be able to provide necessary interaction and stimulation while he’s in there), or only let him out in the rest of the house on the weekends so that you only have to deal with cleaning the other areas once a week. It will make the process SO much easier the less area you have to worry about.

And as someone else mentioned, metro is extremely bitter. Most everyone here just had waterfalls of drool pretty much no matter how we administered it, and we could not find a food that could conceal the taste.

Gel caps are definitely the way to go. We can usually wrap those in a thin layer of pill pocket and it works fine. For other cats, we coat the cap in unsalted butter, use a pill shooter, and follow with a quick shot of water from a syringe.

Also, adding S. Bouladii to food might help (and very likely won’t hurt). You can search the forums in the Raw and Homemade subforum here for information on dosing, but we used these (I want to say we worked up two full capsules a day?) -

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C76HMIS/?tag=thecatsite

Plus, used these (1/4-1/2 capsule, 2x a day) -

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IMGUEFE/?tag=thecatsite

Supplementing probiotics will likely have little, if any, benefit, but since they’re unlikely to do harm, they can be worth considering.

Vets often have different recommendations on how to handle this stuff, but if you want to be sure you get over this ASAP, then you’ll need to be more vigilant than what your vet suggested.

But don’t stress or overwhelm yourself over it, either. If all you do for a couple days is disinfect the bowls - that’s fine. You’ve still eliminated a major source of reinfection by doing that alone, so don’t beat yourself up!
 
Last edited:
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

dkb817

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
230
Purraise
173
FeebysOwner FeebysOwner - I use THIS pair from Amazon. The fluoxetine pills he's on are incredibly small and difficult to cut - They still occasionally want to crumble and the cuts aren't exact, but they're closer than they were when I was just trying to use a sharp kitchen knife.

BlackCatOp BlackCatOp - He's had his first two 1/4 pill doses and seems to have taken them fairly well with minimal side-effects, if any. It'd be nice if it stays that way, but I have some Cerenia on hand, should it cause gastric distress like the Clavamox did for his recent URI. He also tends to sleep on my bed quite a bit - Would a standard laundering of the blankets kill it off on that front?

moxiewild moxiewild - I actually (as weird as it sounds) don't mind dealing with the constipation so much, as I know it just requires a slight adjustment in meds to get him to where we'd like his stools to be. He's had issues for awhile now, so if they were to clear up, that'd be great - but I can also deal with it if they end up being idiopathic/non-giardia related issues. With the water fountain bit, I have to be careful because Simon is definitely a cat that will flip the tray/bowl to spill it just to watch it happen; Before we started weighing down the litter tray we use to hold his new fountain (no litter in it, fear not), he spilled nearly two liters of water on a basement floor which could have led to mold, which I am HIGHLY allergic to myself. I'll have to a bit of research to find a hard-to-spill dish that works for us is all :) Plates aren't a problem at all as we've actually kept to feeding him off of disposable paper plates (at first, because we had managed to forget to buy him a food bowl after adoption, but then realized it was just INFINITELY easier in terms of cleanup). I'll definitely looking into the Rescue spray you recommended though, it seems like something good to have on hand regardless.
 

BlackCatOp

Black Cats Rule!
Adult Cat
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
230
Purraise
231
Location
Cat Cuddling (USA)
FeebysOwner FeebysOwner I realized I wasn’t clear in my above post. Sorry about that. So if the pill is scored – typically the pill can be split with just downward pressure placed with the pill on the countertop (no tool needed). I agree, having to quarter pills is a huge pain!

1607278203220.png



dkb817 dkb817 Regular laundering should be fine – especially if dried on high heat. That’s good to hear that he’s taking the meds without difficulty!
 
Top