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  #1  
Old 01-29-2009, 10:47 AM United States
HedgeMom HedgeMom is offline
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Default Giardia

Giardia is an intestinal parasite that causes diarrhea and anorexia. In humans it can cause stomach cramps and pain, in addition to diarrhea. The feces will be larger than normal, greasy or shiny looking and will smell. It is readily transmitted between humans and pets.

Most giardia is contracted through contaminated drinking water, food and contact with an infected animal. Symptoms take 7 to 14 days after exposure to show. Veterinary treatment is mandatory. You cannot treat this without prescription medications.

Flagyl is the treatment of choice. It's safe in chinchillas and very effective. You may need to repeat the course, if the infection is severe. Valbazin and Panacur are also prescribed. Both work well.

Supportive care at home is a must. Monitor water intake to prevent dehydration. Encourage drinking by hanging a second water bottle with a few ounces of room temperature herbal mint and chamomile tea (just herbal, not anything with caffeine). Replace daily.

Unsweetened shredded wheat can be offered a few times a day to help keep the fiber up and control diarrhea. Acidophilus (high potency) can be sprinkled on a shreddie once a day to help.

In case of severe diarrhea, a teaspoon of unflavored canned pumpkin can be given daily in small servings to help bind things up.

In order to prevent the spread of the disease, other than quarantine (which should be automatic), sanitation is paramount. Clean everything the animal comes in contact with. Wash fabrics in hot water with bleach and boil anything plastic or metal that can't be washed.

Wooden items should be disposed of or sanded down far enough to get past anything that might have soaked in.

Recovery can take weeks. Be prepared to provide supportive care such as hand feedings. Monitor weight for several weeks afterward to ensure that the animal is doing well.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:49 PM United States
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I heard that a 3-step water filter could help eliminate some of the giardia found in tap water too. Is this correct?
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:04 PM Canada
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HM, have you heard of vets treating giardia with Albendozol or Fenbendazol instead of Flagyl? We had a case with our girls a few years ago that would not go away with Flagyl treatment. Our vet recommended a course of Fenbendazol combined with a very small amount of tylan powder in the water. Things cleared up within days and the girls had no adverse side effects.

I also found this on the CAchins website:

Quote:
If your animal has giardia, then ask for Albendozol or Fenbendazol , NOT Flagyl. Flagyl is still the only accepted treatment for giardia, but unfortunately it kills no more than 50% of the parasite and has been implicated in liver failure in chinchillas. Albendozol, however, usually kills the parasite after 3 days of treatment and does not seem to have bad side effects due to the fact that it is not absorbed into the blood stream. It does sometimes cause a little loss of appetite for a couple of days, but this usually passes.
Just wondering if you have any insight on this.
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:24 PM United States
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equus_peduus equus_peduus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HedgeMom View Post

Flagyl is the treatment of choice. It's safe in chinchillas and very effective. You may need to repeat the course, if the infection is severe. Valbazin and Panacur are also prescribed. Both work well.
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Originally Posted by Solarsis View Post
HM, have you heard of vets treating giardia with Albendozol or Fenbendazol instead of Flagyl?
Valbazin is a brand name for albendazole.
Panacur is a brand name for fenbendazole.
Flagyl is a brand name for metronidazole.

In theory, any will work. None work well in all cases. Some cases of giardia, regardless of species of animal affected, need to have more than one drug thrown at them. Re-infection of the animal is also very common. It's a frustrating disease to treat, and some think that it's not possible to completely clear it - just reduce the numbers to trivial levels.
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:43 PM Canada
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ah thanks for the info on names. I wasn't aware of the brand names. Our vet compounded the meds for us and always referred to it as fenbendazol.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:23 PM United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sesame View Post
I heard that a 3-step water filter could help eliminate some of the giardia found in tap water too. Is this correct?
I have a Pur Stage 3 water filter for my chins. The box says it filters for giardia.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:37 PM United States
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Quote:
I heard that a 3-step water filter could help eliminate some of the giardia found in tap water too. Is this correct?
That, a reverse osmosis system, or boiling the water.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoof View Post
That, a reverse osmosis system, or boiling the water.
I recall reading that using boiled water for chinchillas was okay in a temporary situation but it shouldn't be used all the time b/c... I can't remember the b/c why, but I know there was a reason. Maybe someone else knows.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:03 AM United States
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Inca-bink Inca-bink is offline
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Boiled water is not ideal for a number of reasons - first, depending on what it is boiled in, it may pick up metal ions from the pot. This is OK in short-term, but can be bad in the long term. Secondly, boiling does not "sterilize" as such - it does reduce bacterial load and other bio contaminants you might be concerned about, but it doesn't get rid of everything. It also won't remove other things you don't want your animals drinking, like trace amounts of lead (of concern especially if you have old pipes) or other contaminants.

Distilled water is also not a great idea because it can actually upset your animal's internal electrolyte balance. You may be feeding a balanced diet, but your pets depends on many sources to get the minerals and other nutrients they need. Limiting those sources is just asking for problems. Although there have been great strides in understanding the nutritional needs of many animals, we don't completely understand our own requirements, much less those of under-studied animals like chinchillas. There are other reasons, but that is the main reason providing distilled water is not a good idea.

What does work is a filtration system. Whether it is a Brita, Pur, or other faucet filter, you need to make sure that your filter is certified to do what it says. Look on the side of the box for the blue NSF seal, and then check the specifications. NSF is currently the leading independent certifier of drinking water filtration systems, and runs exhaustive tests to be sure filters are removing what they say they do. Look for removal of cysts (like giardia and cryptosporidium), lead, and anything else that you might be worried about having in your water.

Remember that it is more likely that your chinchilla will be exposed to giardia through other kinds of contact rather than water. Giardia is a large cyst, and is unlikely to make it into your drinking water, although outbreaks have been known in localized settings. Cryptosporidium is much smaller, and much much harder to remove, and with its similar symptoms, it can be difficult to effectively diagnose. It is good to protect yourself and your pets by using a filter, but remember to take simple precautions, like washing your hands and keeping your shoes in a closet where your chinchillas can't chew on them. You never know what you've stepped in...

Hope this helps!
Steph

Last edited by Inca-bink; 02-02-2009 at 01:05 AM. Reason: spelling - oops
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  #10  
Old 02-02-2009, 06:27 AM
Sugarmama
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Admins, could this be stickied so this info is readily available, and doesn't get lost in old threads?
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