Diarrhea is a fairly common gastrointestinal issue seen in cats, but it can sometimes be indicative of an underlying health issue. Here, our Riverside vets share the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Giardia in cats.
About Giardia In Cats
Giardia is a tiny parasitic germ that causes the diarrheal disease giardiasis.
Giardia is found on surfaces that your pet comes in contact with, for example, litter boxes, crates, toys, beds, or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces from infected animals.
What Causes It?
Giardia can be contracted by coming into contact with the bacteria associated with the condition. Cats can become exposed to this bacteria by touching the feces of another animal.
Generally common causes of contraction are:
- Being in contact with infected poop from another cat (or dog if you have one in the home.)
- Rolling and playing in infected dirt in your yard or at a dog park.
- Licking its body after contact with an infected surface (like toys or a litter box)
- Drinking infected water, at a pond or beach for example.
Signs & Symptoms?
Parasites attach themselves to the intestinal wall and this causes minor, sudden-onset, foul-smelling diarrhea. Giardia in cats can lead to weight loss.
The stool may range from soft to liquid and has a greenish tinge to it, and occasionally contains blood. Infected cats tend to have a lot of mucus in their feces.
Vomiting may occur in some severe cases.
Can It Be Passed To Humans?
The chances of people getting Giardia infection from dogs or cats are low. The type of Giardia that infects humans is not usually the same type that infects dogs and cats.
If you own other household or exotic pets, contact your veterinarian for more information.
How Is It Treated?
If your cat has diarrhea that is not going away, contact our Riverside vets right away. Diarrhea can be caused by many things and could result in dehydration or other serious problems.
As of right now, there are no approved over-the-counter medications are available for Giardia.
Giardia can be passed in poop intermittently, and an animal may appear healthy or without signs of disease before it stops passing Giardia.
Your vet may want to see your dog for follow-up appointments and regular fecal exams to make sure the infection has not come back.