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Overwhelmed by Giardia

juju521

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I'm not sure if I'm here for advice or moral support, but my two cats have tested positive for Giardia for the past 3 months. One of my cats has been through 1 round of Panacur and 1 round of Panacur/Metronidazole. My other cat has been through 2 rounds of Panacur and one round of Panacur/Metronidazole. It is the same routine everytime. I give them a round of medicine, their poop gets solid with low residue for 3-4 days then it turns to formed mushy or just soft piles of poop. I wipe their butts after they poop (if I'm home). I've been cleaning like a crazy person. I clorox wipe everything and lysol the floors. I threw away old scratching boards, toys, even a cat tree. I wash their blankets in hot water. I tried to give them a bath after their last round of medication. One of my cats went nuts and started hissing, so I ended up soaking him with a wet towel and tried rubbing him with the wet towel instead of soap. My other cat was a bit easier, but I couldn't keep her long still long enough to bathe her whole body. I've also been using grooming wipes to try wiping their paws and fur near their butt. I just got a steamer yesterday to supplement the cleaning.

It's been a week since I gave them their last dose of medicine and they're having loose stools again. I'm resigned to the fact that they'll test positive when i get them re-tested in another week. Is the bath part where I'm going wrong? I don't know what else to do and am really starting to get stressed out by how long this has been going on (not to mention the $$ I'm spending to treat this). Help?
 

neely

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Although I have never personally encountered a problem with Giardia I thought this TCS Article might be helpful until another member with more experience can weigh in on this health issue: Giardia And Giardiasis In Cats
Hang in there, I know this problem can be difficult. :hangin:
 

taylamo

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Sorry to hear you are dealing with giardia. I remember how stressful it was, and I only had one kitten with it. Fortunately, he was a new rescue and I kept him quarantined in my basement away from my other three cats while under treatment. Not good for his emotional development, but I sure didn’t want it spreading. Are yours separated?

What’s the history? Are they new adoptions or indoor/outdoor? And how old, I’ve heard that adults have a better chance of not catching/clearing it, but I’m not sure if that’s true.

What is their diet like? No food changes or anything recently that would make it hard to tell what is going on? Simple and less variety is probably better at this time.

Have you tried any probiotics? S. Boulardi ( prob spelled wrong) has been suggested on here.

We only used metro with vitamins and stuff added. Vet didn’t mention any panacur or ponzuril or whatever people talk about on here. It made his stools very dark and like shiny looking, but happily firm. It was a longer course, maybe 10 days or so. Can’t remember for sure. He hated that liquid.

Hang in there. My friend had it go through 2 cats and 2 dogs in her home. I can’t imagine! But they’re all fine now. Best of luck!
 
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juju521

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Ryder is my new kitten who I've had for about 4 months now and is now 7 months old, so the Giardia started after a month of me getting him. Emmie is the older one who is now 1 years old and I've had since March 2019. I'm pretty sure Ryder started it by digging in the sink drain and digging up sink gunk and then licking his paws. I never though to clean the inside of my sink drain :ohwell:. I live in a small NYC 1 BR apartment, so separating the two isn't really realistic. They eat Instinct Kitten dry food and I supplement with Weruva wet food. I change the flavors every couple of days of the wet otherwise they get bored and refuse to eat it. I give them a capsule of Proviable a day with their wet. I'm going to look in to getting some S. Boullardi. Should I just to stick to one wet flavor and let them eat the dry if they don't want it? I guess I just want to know for my own sanity that this thing is actually beatable and that it does go away. I'm completely over it.

On a side note, the Metronidazole is by far the most difficult medication I've had to give them. I got major stink eye and crying after the Metro. I even bought what amounts to a cat straight jacket to give Emmie (my more difficult cat) the Metro.
 

kashmir64

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Giardia is nasty. I had it with 3 fosters. Fortunately, I was able to quarantine them. You said you clean with bleach. Get rid of it. Bleach does not kill Giardia, ammonia does. However, remember to NEVER mix the two or clean with bleach and then ammonia, unless you want to die. It creates Mustard Gas.
Also, very important, Giardia is not species specific. Which means you can get it (also your dog if you have one). So be sure to wash your hands in hot soapy water after exposure to kitty. You will also need to either spray a 10% ammonia solution or steam clean all furniture and carpets that kitties walk/sleep on. I would switch to a clay litter for the time being. Dump this every day, rinse with HOT water, spray with ammonia solution, clean with antibacterial soap and add new litter. This may seem extreme, but it will not let Giardia get back into kitties system. Wash their blankets everyday with HOT soapy water. It's a lot of work...I know.
Put a little coconut oil on their anus'. This will ease the pain of raw butts.
Another thing. Metro taste horrible. I had to take it once and almost couldn't put it in my mouth it was so bad. You may want to mix it with something, but I'm not sure what. Ask your vet.
Remember, cleaning is the key here. Don't listen to the things Google says about it. It is one resilient Protozoa and it takes a lot to get rid of it. Also, it can live in the environment for a year.
Good luck and keep us posted.
 

taylamo

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I actually didn’t have to do all the cleaning recommended because Sammy was in an unfinished basement in a large dog crate. He was very young, though. Under 10 weeks. We found him on the highway and he was a very sick kitten. He had a leaky bottom to the point I thought he had muscle tone issues. Constant smelly poo would just...drip. So messy. He was mostly on newspapers and he loved to sleep in empty cardboard cat food flats. I hated isolating him but I couldn’t fathom medicating three adult cats with Metro! The actually had briefly met him before he was diagnosed, but they never had contact with his litter or food dishes or anything.

I wonder if Ryder brought it with him and it took time to manifest in his poop. Something about the lifecycle of giardia with cysts shedding. Did both cats have separate fecals done?

Your food sounds fine. I like Proviable. Sam was eating Fromm dry, some Sheba wet, and some plain chicken baby food (in my attempt to firm things up) when we saw the vet. She told me to remove all but one thing to give his system a break, and recommending doing just the baby food for a couple of days before adding other food in. But, he was a tiny sick kitten, and I wouldn’t do that with adult cats. Moisture from wet food is too important, and also getting sufficient calories. You could try some spoonfuls of plain stage one baby food chicken though. I think many people believe it has a firming effect on cat stools. I also bought some ID Science Diet canned food from her because my elderly dogs had used it with success years ago. I started using it with the baby food and it seemed to help too.

Try not to be too discouraged. Hopefully your vet will have some more tips for you if it turns out they still have it.
 

kashmir64

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wonder if Ryder brought it with him and it took time to manifest in his poop. Something about the lifecycle of giardia with cysts shedding.
It has a 14 day gestation.

Even though my girls were quarantined, they were in the house proper. I had 3 dogs at the time, so I did do all the cleaning. Even if they had been completely isolated, I would have done the cleaning if for no other reason than to avoid reinfection.
 
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juju521

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I've been cleaning and changing out their bedding, but I realized that I haven't been changing MY bedding everyday. They're all over my bed at night. I'll need to start changing out the blankets and sheets everyday. I just got my steam cleaner last night but steam cleaned last night and again this morning and will keep up with steaming everything twice a day. I wish I could steam clean their butts lol. Hopefully obsessively steam cleaning and switching to ammonia helps. Also, I've seen two different vets about the Giardia and neither of them mentioned the crazy amount of cleaning required to get rid of this it. You'd think this is information that they'd pass on to their clients.
 

She's a witch

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I know exactly how you feel, my kittens’ giardia ruled my life for 3 months I think :) it seems you have the cleaning covered. How long was the break before each dose of the meds? The drugs won’t kill the cysts, only adult giardia so repeating after incubation period is crucial. For some strains only panacur is effective, for some only metronidazole. Maybe it would make sense to repeat metronidazole? We also took Flagyl ourselves to minimize the risk that we were re-infecting them.
I also learned that if diarrhea persists after treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that giardia is still alive; in my cat’ case his intestines were so sore after the disease that he continued to have diarrhea and soft stools long after the best test showed they were free from the pathogen. And although I hate Royal Canin brand with all my heart, I started feeding them RC Gastrointestinal food for a month (wet and dry) and it helped tremendously. After a month I needed to slowly reintroduce their usual food by mixing it with RC, increasing the amount of their food slowly.
All of that plus probiotics helped them heal their intestines eventually and they never had the problem since.
Good luck!
 

mackiemac

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Is the vet 100% POSITIVE that this is Giardia? Sometimes, Giardia is mistakenly diagnosed when the actual problem is another flagellate protozoan called Tritrichomonas foetus. The two can look superficially similar, particularly in the motile stages when the organisms may be moving around under the scope. I've mistaken the two, myself, when I was still learning and even occasionally afterwards if the organisms had somehow become distorted or non-motile.

Tritrich takes a different medication, and yes... it can be quite difficult to kill off, like the Giardia. If the vet is performing the parasite exams in-house, it might be good to get some fresh sets of eyes in the issue and send the samples out to a lab. Take a look at these images... an experienced lab tech or vet can distinguish these two organisms, but T. foetus isn't seen as often as Giardia, and it's relatively "new" to some vets, so it's rather easy to mistake the two if one isn't prepared to see T. foetus.

This can be a challenging parasite to treat. The medications commonly used to treat Giardia don't work for T. foetus. The most commonly used antiprotozoal drug for treating Tritrichomonas foetus in cats is ronidazole. However, ronidazole is not licensed for use in cats in all countries; it should only be used with caution and with informed, signed, owner consent. (This information is provided for educational purposes only, and is not intended as veterinary medical advice... standard disclaimer)

Tritrichomonas foetus infection in cats | International Cat Care

Tritrichomonas foetis

1573160520611.png


1573160747121.png

Giardia sp. trophozoites (motile phase)

1573160929710.png


Note the "Alien Face" which identifies this as Giardia!

1573161070293.png


Giardia lamblia trophozoites and cysts

1573161344623.png
 
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kashmir64

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I've seen two different vets about the Giardia and neither of them mentioned the crazy amount of cleaning required to get rid of this it. You'd think this is information that they'd pass on to their clients.
That's probably because (1) they've never had to actually go through it, or (2) they want you to keep coming back to line their pockets.

Those Trophozoite's look so happy infecting kitty.
 

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It might be a food issue. I was trying to transition my cats from Nutro dry to American Journey dry and couldn't get past 50% without getting diarrhea, I think it might have been the egg product or tapioca in the American Journey. I went to all Friskies Pate and didn't have any more issues with diarrhea, now I've been adding other foods including dry and things have been going great.
 
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juju521

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Is the vet 100% POSITIVE that this is Giardia? Sometimes, Giardia is mistakenly diagnosed when the actual problem is another flagellate protozoan called Tritrichomonas foetus.

My vet says they test for it and she says it is, so I would think so. I can mention it the next time I'm there.
 
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juju521

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It might be a food issue. I was trying to transition my cats from Nutro dry to American Journey dry and couldn't get past 50% without getting diarrhea, I think it might have been the egg product or tapioca in the American Journey. I went to all Friskies Pate and didn't have any more issues with diarrhea, now I've been adding other foods including dry and things have been going great.
THey've both tested positive for Giardia multiple times so I'm sure that's their problem. They've been eating the food with no problem for a while, so I ruled out the food pretty quickly.
 
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juju521

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I know exactly how you feel, my kittens’ giardia ruled my life for 3 months I think :) it seems you have the cleaning covered. How long was the break before each dose of the meds? The drugs won’t kill the cysts, only adult giardia so repeating after incubation period is crucial. For some strains only panacur is effective, for some only metronidazole. Maybe it would make sense to repeat metronidazole? We also took Flagyl ourselves to minimize the risk that we were re-infecting them.
I also learned that if diarrhea persists after treatment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that giardia is still alive; in my cat’ case his intestines were so sore after the disease that he continued to have diarrhea and soft stools long after the best test showed they were free from the pathogen. And although I hate Royal Canin brand with all my heart, I started feeding them RC Gastrointestinal food for a month (wet and dry) and it helped tremendously. After a month I needed to slowly reintroduce their usual food by mixing it with RC, increasing the amount of their food slowly.
All of that plus probiotics helped them heal their intestines eventually and they never had the problem since.
Good luck!
I've been getting their fecal samples tested 2 weeks after their last dose of medication. How long did your cat continue to have soft stools/diarrhea after he tested negative? I'm not a fan of Royal Canin either, but I'll try it if it makes them better.
 

mackiemac

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Those Trophozoite's look so happy infecting kitty.
Actually, Giardia can infect many species, including humans. It's one reason why we should wear gloves while gardening, and wash all produce from our gardens or the store, and be cautious when drinking from water supplies of unknown cleanliness and purity, and after dealing with litter boxes, and of course while handling our kitties who have it or may be exposed to it.
 

kashmir64

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Actually, Giardia can infect many species, including humans. It's one reason why we should wear gloves while gardening, and wash all produce from our gardens or the store, and be cautious when drinking from water supplies of unknown cleanliness and purity, and after dealing with litter boxes, and of course while handling our kitties who have it or may be exposed to it.
But did you see their little smiling faces? They are so happy it's almost a shame to kill them.....NOT.
 

mackiemac

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But did you see their little smiling faces? They are so happy it's almost a shame to kill them.....NOT.
They look like they're laughing at us and our feeble attempts to wipe them out. I feel for y'all, as we are just waiting for the results to Rain's follow-up test. She came up with Giardia, too. Thankfully she hasn't had diarrhea or other symptoms at any point, but she was definitely strong positive through 2 modes of testing (PCR testing and lab fecal test). Some of these parasites are tricky because they don't shed on every stool passage! She didn't come up with Giardia until her second test after treatment for Coccidia. She has been strictly indoors the whole time we've had her, so she had to have been carrying it with her. She's had baths, I've sanitized the boxes daily with boiling water and disinfectants, I've done the floors daily, she had a week-long course of treatment with Panacur (too small yet for Flagyl) everything. Hopefully her next test will show progress. We should have the results today sometime.
 

Landon&Lucasmom

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We were told our kittens had Giardia, when a fecal was done at the vet's office. We treated them and they continued to have loose stool. We then ordered a PCR panel test and our kittens were diagnosed with Tritcrichomonas Foetus, which cannot be detected by a fecal float or fecal smear (the most common fecal tests done at the vet's office). Basically our kittens had both Giardia and TF, we treated for the Giardia and they cleared it, but we still had the TF that was causing the loose stool that we had treat. Giardia is very easy to treat, when they didn't get any better we requested the PCR test. Many vets are not familiar with TF and do not test for it, instead they continue giving different antibiotics that will not clear the TF or suggest the Cat has IBS.
 
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