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Lawns Not Likely a Contributor to Spread of Giardiasis

A SafeLawns follower from the St. Louis area asked us a question this morning that sent us scrambling to our veterinarian friends. It concerned ridding the spores of Giardia from lawns so that her new puppy is not reinfected.

First off, a quick definition: Giardaisis is an intestinal infection that can affect many mammals, but it’s most common in young dogs. In fact, most dogs do reportedly carry the spores of Giardia in their bodies but are not acutely impacted. The most common symptom is diarrhea.

The disease is transmitted from dog to dog through the ingestion of the Giardia cysts contained in spoiled feed or drinking water — and not likely from lawns. Cysts may also be found in streams or other water sources. Giardia cysts, according to the vets I spoke with, do not live for long after being voided in the feces. Therefore, the lawn probably does not contribute significantly to the transmission of Giardiasis. It’s certainly never a bad idea to clean up after your dog, however.

One vet did say that poisoning from synthetic chemical weed and insect killers in cats and dogs is often misdiagnosed as Giardiasis. The most common symptoms if pesticide poisoning occurs in pets include diarrhea, as well as weakness, trembling, vomiting, depression, chills, drooling and rapid breathing.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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