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  #1  
Old 11-28-2013, 03:24 PM Canada
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Default Giardia

So lately every chin we take in from a shelter is positive for Giardia. I just got off the phone with the vet and the latest chin sent from a shelter is positive. We test every new chin coming into the rescue. None of the ones tested positive have any symptoms.

So a new vet was the one I spoke with and he felt that with no symptoms no treatment is needed. I know there are a lot of different thoughts about giardia.

So are small amounts normal? To me, it is a parasite so not something that should be normal. The same as lice or fleas.

We have one chin that has been on and off treatment for ages. She is always positive.
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Old 11-28-2013, 07:25 PM United States
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as far as i understand it... and i could be wrong. But i believe that once they have giardia they will always test positive for it. the body can normally keep it under control, it is when the chin is stressed or its immune system is comprised that the giardia will flare up again. so i believe they can test positive but not need treatment. i've been lucky and have never had to deal with it so i could be wrong.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:17 PM United States
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Narcissus is correct. Most chinchillas will have giardia. The only times it becomes a problem is when an animal is stressed/sick then the numbers can get out of hand.
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:19 PM Canada
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So if a chin tests positive but has no symptoms should it be treated? Or only treat if there are symptoms.

Is the consensus that they all do have it in low numbers.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:35 PM United States
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I'd like to talk to whoever came up with the idea that most chins carry numbers of giardia to hear their reasoning and see their facts/evidence, fecal floats, etc. showing it. Giardia is definitely not considered normal flora in any species. In order for an animal to have giardia, they must have contact with the parasite in the environment. It can't just spontaneously appear in an animal's body because it must complete it's life cycle by living in the environment. It is an opportunistic parasite, so a chin could be infected quite some time before something causes them to become stressed and lower their immune system, which is when the parasite begins to take over and symptoms may be seen. Because of this, an infected animal could shed the giardia cysts in the feces and infect other chins that come in contact with those feces, which can lead to a big infection of a herd without the owner knowing. But once again..I don't think I'd say most chins have giardia as if it is a normal flora. They must first be exposed.

I did a project when I was in vet tech school on chinchilla fecals, I ran probably 100+ fecal samples on all my chins and from all the samples I collected from chins at pet stores & a local breeder and not once have I found any number giardia on a fecal float, smear, wet mount, stains, etc. in a healthy chin. I looked at the feces of probably 50+ animals.

It is possible to be a chronic carrier (some have symptoms, some don't), but like I said, they have to have contracted it from somewhere first. In this case, since every chin from the shelter is coming up positive (I'm assuming they are coming from the same shelter?) the shelter is most likely the place of infection due to lack of proper sanitation between animals, drinking water used, etc.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:38 AM United States
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My first chin had silent giardia, the vet recommended treating once a year regardless of symptoms in all chins that had tested positive. She died of malo before I could make that decision, I am not sure if I would do that since the treatment does have some risk.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:10 AM Canada
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We are treating 2 with a combo of 2 meds. With the next fecals we are getting the lab to do a count and see what exactly the numbers are.

I have concerns about medicating these chins over and over again.
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