Giardia - Holistic Treatment

“The vet said it’s not giardia”
You might be right, but, as a matter of fact, a tech could potentially need to view as many as 100 slides before they actually see giardia. Just because they didn't spot it doesn't mean your pet doesn't have it. Unfortunately, some pets get sick even at those minor levels. If you're treating holistically it can't hurt to do a holistic giardia regimen even if they don't have it.

Even a trained eye could miss it, even in a symptomatic pet. There are a couple reasons this could occur:

1. Suppressed immune system - on rare occasion, pets can be overly responsive to small amounts of protozoa, bacteria or pathogens that they are exposed to.  Levels that normally would not cause illness in an individual may cause severe symptoms in another.  This generally only occurs in cases where the immune system is otherwise compromised such as in puppyhood, some seniors, autoimmune diseases, recently vaccinated or medicated individuals, or those that have been exposed recently to a chemical, illness or food that caused their body to struggle temporarily. 

2. Giardia and other protozoa are capable of pocketing up into little cysts to hide from medications.  Like humans, protozoa fight for life.  As a form of self-preservation, giardia is capable of hiding in cysts that they create in the digestive tract in order to live another day.  Often, it takes several days to get an appointment with a vet.  During that time, your highly symptomatic pet may have developed some hidey-hole cysts for giardia.  Once your pet gets to the vet, the vet may not see giardia on the slides - not because giardia isn't there but because they are looking in the feces, not in the cyst.  Treatment, therefore, would still be beneficial.  However, treatment for giardia must extend to 30 days to treat the cycle - this can only safely be done holistically. 

However, even if your pet does not have giardia a holistic regimen can’t hurt. Plus you have the added benefit of holistic, safe heart worm prevention.


“How do pets get giardia?” -

Even within a healthy, asymptomatic gut, giardia has a natural presence. In reality, “getting giardia” is simply a matter of bad bacterium (such as giardia, coccidia, toxoplasmosis, clostridium, etc) overgrowing and out-competing beneficial bacterium in the gut. In some cases this is caused by exposure to the bacterium from a shared water bowl, a pond/lake/stream/ puddle, etc, or it may be caused by stress.  Stress damages intestinal villi and creates imbalances that encourage the overgrowth of illness inducing bacterium. This stress could be guests in the home, thunderstorms, a new baby, boarding, or many other situations.

Chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, chemical household cleaners, vaccinations, heartworm and other medication, those found in low quality pet foods, etc actually kill off good gut bacteria and often micro tear/burn the intestinal lining causing a condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome. This compromises the entire immune system, thus resulting in imbalances that may lead to giardia.

Additionally, bad bacteria actually ENCOURAGE the growth of the good bacteria in a healthy gut. If the good guys go to war and there is no one to fight they certainly aren’t going to send in more “good guy” troops to keep an empty city safe. Therefore, antibiotics that kill bad bacteria also have the undesirable effect of running off/killing the good guys. Once the field is empty (and your pet is no longer symptomatic), it only takes ONE bad guy to outnumber the good guys and the process starts over again… bad guys take over, good guys show up, antibiotic bombs kill everyone. Pet shares water with another pet, bad guys come in again, no good guys are left, bad guys take over, bad guys win, antibiotic bomb kills everyone.  Pet eats a poo, bad guys take over, no good guys are left, bad guys win, antibiotic bomb is necessary. Bad guys are even taking over the bad guys now too, Armageddon… thus resulting in imbalances and cyclical recurrences and subsequent antibiotic resistance. Eventually what was an acute giardia overgrowth is now a chronic digestive condition (possibly more than one).


“I’ve been giving yogurt and/or acidophilus so I don’t need to buy anything.” -

Giving a supplement like yogurt or acidophilus can further imbalance the gut, making the pet MORE susceptible to giardia and other bacteria.  Giving too few varieties of good bacteria causes imbalances in the less numerous varieties of good bacteria. Just as one type of antibiotic is not effective against every type illness, one strain of good bacteria isn’t effective against every type of bad bacteria either.... you MUST have variety. 

Think of this like a chess board.  Lactobacilis acidophilus can be the pawns in this case. Imagine that the opponent has a full set of pieces - meanwhile, you have pawns.  And to strengthen your army you add more pawns. You can fill your board with pawns and fight a good game. You might even win. However, the fight will still be inhibited by the limitations of that player.  Like chess pieces, good bacteria have a variety of different "skills." Some are excellent at fighting pathogens, some are better with viruses, some are better with fungi... It is the complete and varied army that wins with few losses.  

Solutions cultured Raw Milk products have over 300 varieties of bacteria each, more than any man-made supplement.  


“Ok so how do I handle giardia?” –


First, a Diarrhea reality check - The digestive systems natural mechanism of purging unwanted foreigners (parasites and bad bacterium) is through diarrhea... diarrhea is a healthy response to an intestinal problem.  It’s not healthy to hold illness-inducing levels of giardia in the gut, it needs to come out... but it is healthy to prevent dehydration.  Exclusively giving a supplement to stop diarrhea is not sufficient because you're forcing the body to keep the bad guys in without resolving the imbalance... you must give antidiarrheal supplements in conjunction with products that assist in resolving the bacterial overgrowth while keeping good bacteria healthy.


Antibiotics – As mentioned above, antibiotics often require 3-8 rounds to resolve giardia. Overuse of antibiotics may create a chronic problem, potentially resulting in antibiotic resistance, leaky gut, anemia, zinc toxicity (the symptoms of which mimic giardia), etc. There is, indeed, a time and place for antibiotics.  After holistic treatments have tried and failed or, potentially, in acutely life threatening conditions. However, giardia is not an acutely life threatening condition (unless you've ignored it long enough to cause severe dehydration) and it is extremely responsive to holistic treatments. Holistic treatments can generally be given in conjunction with antibiotics... they will simply be less effective if you choose to do so. Herbal supplements which stop diarrhea will absorb some of the antibiotics if they are giving at the same time.  If you choose to give both, give them 2 or more hours apart.


Fasting – Digesting is a tedious process that requires many, many resources within the body. Fasting gives the gut an opportunity to rest and resolve the problem more quickly. Giving nothing but Raw Milk and supplements for one full day can increase recovery time while still providing sufficient calories, hydration and nutrients for the day. 


Azmira Giardia & Parasitic D'tox - One of the main ingredients of this safe, herbal product (Wormwood) is actually recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to treat's a highly potent and effective herb. This product has multiple ingredients that handle parasites from multiple angles. It can be used to prevent and treat giardia and other protozoa… and Heart Worm.


Herbal Anti-Diarrhea Supplements – Yes, there are herbal blends that are capable of solidifying loose stool. Up to 4 times the recommended amount can be given up to 3 times a day for 2 days. If the problem continues, or worsens, after 2 days despite giving herbal supplements then the problem is probably pancreatitis (that's the only time we've seen it not work) and an alternate treatment is necessary. Once you give anti-diarrhea herbs for 3-10 days you may come off of them. If your pet still has diarrhea (despite giving Giardia & Parasitic D’tox in conjunction) then there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed... the only reason a pet might need to stay on and herbal anti-diarrhea blend long term is for  chronic anal gland issues. 

Elemental Provisions The Regulator – The Regulator is an herbal blend that will solidify the stool. It can be given in doses up to 4 times what it says on the bottle just to get the stool firm so everyone can get some sleep. If it doesn't work within 2 days it's not going to. If the problem continues despite giving The Regulator the pet probably has pancreatitis (that's the only time we've seen it not work). If you give it for up to 10 days and try to come off it and the pet still has diarrhea (despite giving something like colloidal silver or giardia and parasitic in conjunction) then there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed... the only reason a pet might need to stay on The Regulator long term is for anal gland problems.


Tummy Soothing Herbs -  Certain herbs help to increase “digestive fire” and slightly anesthetize the digestive lining which calms gurgling and cramping. These herbs can greatly reduce your pets discomfort while giving the other supplements time to work.


Long Term Prevention - Keeping pets on a healthy diet full of natural (not man-made) enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics is the best way to prevent giardia and other gut issues.  If you have no access to raw or dehydrated raw foods, or Solutions Cow or Goat Milk (that naturally contain these things) you can supplement with a good digestive enzyme/bacteria supplement. These things will help your pet be more resistant to illness in the future. For more information please contact us.


The most effective regimen we’ve seen used for giardia is:

  • One full day of exclusively Solutions raw Goat or Cow Milk with herbal anti-diarrhea blend, herbal tummy soothing blend, and Giardia & Parasitic D'tox.  Normally issues resolve within 5 hours but you should continue to for a full day. 
  • After 24 hours introduce food in conjunction with Azmira Giardia & Parasitic D'tox and the herbal anti-diarrhea blend.
  • After 3-10 days wean off supplements.  If you continue to have issues throughout this process or after you wean off of the supplements give us a call for more help.