Help for free-roaming cats: How to recognize a Giardia infection

The parasite is found in most mammals, e.g. B. in dogs, cats, cattle and sheep. The parasite can also be transmitted through food and water, which increases the risk. If you want to protect your cat, you should recognize the first signs immediately and test your animal regularly .

What causes Giardia infection and how is it spread? Giardiasis is an infection of the intestinal tract transmitted by Giardia lamblia. This is a unicellular “protozoan”. There are several variants of Giardia lamblia, some of which can also infect humans. Therefore, it is important to protect not only your cat from infection, but also yourself.

The parasite occurs in two forms: a vegetative form in the gut (trofozoite) and as a resting stage (cyst). The cysts are the infectious form. It is relatively hardy and survives at temperatures from 0° to 60°C. It should be noted, however, that the parasite cannot survive without a host. It is therefore constantly looking for a new animal or human to infest.

Giardia are excreted in the faeces and infection usually occurs via faecal-contaminated water, sometimes via Groceries. It can therefore happen that your cat or tomcat ingests the parasites by drinking water or smelling foreign faeces.

Due to the low infectious dose, which is less than 100 cysts, the parasite can spread quickly. If a cat is infected, it infects most other cats in the vicinity.

If the infection is not treated, the shedding time can last from months to years. The incubation period is usually only a few days. It is therefore important to recognize the first signs at an early stage.

A test quickly provides information about an infestation. If you get a positive result, you should visit the veterinarian and act immediately.

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How do you deal with the positive test result? In most cases you will receive one Medication that you give your cat over a period of time. In addition, you should steam clean the rooms in which the cat will live in the next few days and weeks with steam. You should preferably designate two rooms so that you can let the cat into a disinfected and dry room every day.

Never bathe the cat. One of the main reasons Giardia survive is moisture and liquid, and there are millions of spores in every drop of feces, so don’t spread the moisture. If feces get on the cat’s fur, dry, trim and discard.

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