I found this information in a breeder's group and wanted to pass it on to all of you:

One breeder posted this: "Giardia is a part of natural intestinal biome, as far as I'm aware, virtually all dogs, many species of wild animals and domestic animals in North America have giardia somewhere in their guts. It often does not show up in fecal tests because it's kept in check by other natural microbiotic life in the intestines. Fecal tests cannot detect small amounts.

Stressful events such as a puppy being separated from its litter mates and traveling to a new home will often upset the intestinal biome because of stress hormone fluctuations, giardia and coccidia both benefit from stress and upsets, causing their numbers to multiply and cause diarrhea.
Giardia is natural, it's not a sign of neglect or poor environment.

Just so you know, we treat all of our puppies with Safeguard for at least five to ten days before leaving to their new homes. We also treat our pups with Nemex II at two, four, and six weeks for elimination of worms.

Another breeder posted this: "The giardia 'snap' test run by most vets, actually tests for the antigen to the hard coating around the giardia in the encysted state. This hard coating is impervious to heat, cold, disinfectants - is like sand and is everywhere in the dirt animals have been. The literature to the vet's clinics say that this test will increase clinic revenue, and there's a study that something like 90% of random dogs taken off the street test positive with this test. Vets use it because it gets them the additional revenue for medications, add'l office visits etc. I had a local buyer whose puppy tested positive via this test and her vet prescribed over $200 in normal meds/testing and scheduled more office visits/tests. The buyer wanted me to pay for it. I told her about this 'snap' test and to ask, so she asked her vet 'is my puppy sick' - they said no, its been 'exposed' so is a preventative. and she got her meds refunded. My vet would charge like $30 for the same - metrodyzonole and panacur. The problem is with the 'up-the-$$$$' vets who make it sound like giardia is terrible, their kids will get it, etc to scare the buyer into more $$, more tests, and more visits."

In the last litter we had, Harpo/Aspen, as usual, we treated the pups with Safeguard to eliminate any worry of giardia, if there happened to be any issues. We sold one of the pups from this last litter to a couple from San Francisco who took their pup's stool sample to the vet just after they received the puppy, as we strongly recommend. The vet there in San Francisco tested the stool sample and declared that they saw giardia cysts and prescribed the pup more medication. To this day, I swear the vet did not see live giardia, but the dead cysts from the already treated giardia. But, instead of stating this clearly, the vet made the family believe their dog was still infested with giardia. The reason I believe this to be the case is because the other puppies in the litter also had their families take stool samples to their vets and none came back as positive for giardia. One came back with dead cysts, but all the others were clear.

It is important to know about this so that when you are speaking with your vet you can be informed. Please ask about the snap test and make sure the vet is describing "live" giardia, not the dead cysts or just prescribing "preventative" drugs. This devious practice of preying on the unknowing and concerned family is not okay when there is no need to pump our pets full of unnecessary drugs, spending hundreds of wasted money. Also, they speak as though giardia is awful and only terrible breeders have puppies with giardia, when, in fact, it is a regular occurrence in dogs and other animals.

We live in the forest and we take our dogs on long walks every day for exercise and because we enjoy the space we have. Dogs drink from mud puddles. They eat rabbit/deer poop, even though we tell them not to. They find it anyway. They play in the mud on a rainy day. They live in nature. Giardia happens. We do not believe in living in a sterile environment to prevent life from happening. Dogs want to explore and play and enjoy life, too.

So, we use diatomaceous earth every day to kill parasites. We periodically treat for worms and giardia as needed. And we allow our dogs to be dogs.

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