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 is a protozoan parasite that can cause some mammals (cats, dogs, among others) to develop giardiasis . It can be of the Giardia lamblia or Giardia intestinalis species , in any case it has the form of a flagellated 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 a cyst , which is the hardest part 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. Thus, it produces digestive problems , which makes the cat’s health worse. In addition, 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 disease , 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?
Our cat can be infected 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 it or have contact with feces.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of giardiasis in cats are as follows :
- Diarrhea, which is usually abundant and appears from one day to the next
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Intestinal disorders
It is important to know that some cats will not show symptoms, but even so, it does not hurt to do some tests and treat them in case they have been infected .
How do you make the diagnostic?
The veterinarian will ask us to bring him a stool sample , which we will take having put on rubber gloves beforehand. This sample will be sent to a laboratory for analysis . 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 carry out 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 veterinarian has diagnosed giardiasis in our furry dog , he will prescribe antiparasitic drugs that he must take for 7 or 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 the places where the animal is must be cleaned well , with hot water (it must burn) with a few drops of dishwasher – bleach can also be used. 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 him clean himself . Diarrhea, being abundant, can leave spots on the coat. For this reason, it is advisable to trim the fur in that area a little, and clean it – always having put on rubber bands before – with warm water (at about 37ºC), and some gauze or towels.
Can it be prevented?
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.
- Checkups: at least once a year you have to take him to the vet for a checkup.
- Watch him if he has diarrhea: if they do not pass in a few days, consult a professional.
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