Giardia in cats can damage the small intestines which can lead to maldigestion as well as malabsorption in your pet.
This vicious infection also increases the motility of the intestines which can add to the problems of digestion and absorption of several precious nutrients that you cat needs to survive.
This infection is also a very controversial with varying degrees of how serious it can become as well as how and when to treat it.
And to complicate Giardia in cats even further, this is one of the rare infections that is believed can be transmitted from cats to humans.
Most human infection is from contaminated water and transmission from dogs to humans is very unlikely.
However, it is believed that it can be transmitted from cats to humans.
Giardia in cats is a protozoan parasite infection that is found worldwide and affects all ages and breeds with equal ferocity.
The actual parasite is called Giardiasis and it lives in your pet’s intestinal tract and can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms.
Although it affects any breed or age of cat, it is especially dangerous to kittens, young cats, and cats that liver in kennels, animal shelters and pet stores.
This parasite is a protozoan which is a one celled organism.
There are still several things that the scientific and medical community does not know about this parasite as well as several thing s that they do not agree with.
For example, they do not know how many species of the parasite there are and which ones affect which animals.
They also do not know how common this infection actually is and when it should actually be treated.
But what they do agree on is that it is a very real threat to your cat.
This parasite has two basic forms: active and cyst.
The active form lives and multiplies in your cat’s intestinal tract; however, once outside of the intestinal tract it cannot survive for any length of time.
The second form is called a cyst. Once in your cat’s small intestine, the cyst than opens up and releases the active form of the infection known as trophozoite.
This form than attaches to your cats intestinal wall and reproduces by dividing in two.
Your cat becomes infected by eating the cyst of the parasite.
Cyst forms of parasites are almost always spread in the feces of other infected animals as this appears to be no exception.
This is especially dangerous as once they are infected; your cat can affect other cats by this form of contact.
The original infection of this parasite is almost always found in contaminated water such as lakes, rivers, streams, or ponds.
These cysts can remain very viable and infectious for several months especially in cool and moist environments.
The symptoms of Giardia in cats are diarrhea, and the more serious the infection, the more serious the diarrhea becomes.
It can also cause severe gas and bloating in your cat, but this is where this infection starts to become very controversial.
Many veterinarians do not believe that this condition ever reaches disease like symptoms.
However they do agree that it can easily cause maldigestion as well as malabsorption in your pet and both of these conditions are extremely dangerous.
Maldigestion syndrome is a pancreatic disease where your cat has a very difficult time in digesting and then absorbing nutrients from their food.
If it is severe, your cat will not only have diarrhea, but they will start to lose weight as well as body fat.
They will also start to lose muscle atrophy as well as a severe depletion in the quality of the hair because of Giardia in cats.
Malabsorption is a deficiency in your cat where they cannot absorb one or more nutrients in their gastrointestinal tract as a result of some type of disruption.
This is especially dangerous to your cat as it may prevent these nutrients from ever reaching their circulatory system.
When this happens, it can very quickly lead to a deficiency of the nutrient that is not being absorbed.
However, there is also one of potential symptom from Giardia in cats; it is also believed that this infection increases the motility of the intestines.
Motility is a biological term that refers to your cat’s stomach ability to operate spontaneously. When this function is disrupted it decreases the amount of time your cat can digest as well as absorb food.
Treatment for Giardia in cats is also very controversial.
The major questions that surround the treatment processes are if your cat is tested for something else and has this condition, but showing no symptoms, should they be treated at all?
And conversely, if your veterinarian is highly suspect that your cat has this infection, but cannot find the actual organism, should they be treated.
Normally, neither of these causes would be that controversial, but this disease can affect humans and it is believed that cats can transmit it to humans.
But the controversy does not stop there. There are several very effective treatments for this infection in humans, but not all of them have been approved by the FDA for cats.
Metronidazole is the most commonly used drug for treatment, but it has proved to only be about 60 to 70 percent effective in cats.
This drug also has some severe drawbacks in that it can cause vomiting and in some cases lead to anorexia in cats. It can also be toxic to the livers of some cats.
There are other drugs available but they have proven less effective at best.
However, the real controversy in treating this infection is does any treatment effectively remove all of the Giardia infection, or does it just kill the actual cysts?
Giardia in cats is a growing concern and one of the most controversial infections that your cat may face.
If they suddenly develop diarrhea, this is something you should definitely ask your veterinarian about.
Keeping your cat away from potentially infested water is the biggest precaution you can take, as well as building their immune systems as strong as you can with supplements.
If your cat was recently purchased from a pet store or a shelter, this is definitely an infection that you want to watch very closely for.