Giardia in Dogs, Cats, and Humans

What is Giardia?

Giardia is found throughout the United States and in many other parts of the world. Often deemed the cause of “Traveler’s Diarrhea” in people due to many outdoor enthusiasts inadvertently consuming hidden giardia in contaminated waters.

Giardia is not a worm, bacteria or virus, but actually a simple protozoa (single-celled) parasite, the most common intestinal parasite that is found in humans. Although simple in form, those who may unknowingly inhale this parasite, may very well contract Giardiasis, an intestinal infection that can lead to a serious intestinal problems, of which is very contagious.

Cross Infection Between Species:

Not only does Giardiasis occur in humans, but in dogs, cats, and other animals as well, and the consequences are very similar for all species. But there are many things we do not know about this parasite. Experts are still not sure how many strains of Giardia exist and which strain affects which animal.

It seems the risk of humans acquiring giardia infection from dogs or cats is possible, but quite rare, (and vis versa). There are a large amount of strains specializing in just human infections, or just dogs and cats infections, while others are less picky in their hosts.