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So Cannoli (14 weeks) just got diagnosed with Giardia.  Everything came back clean at his 12 week checkup so it's pretty recent.

Our vet said that he needs a separate spot to potty for the next few weeks so when he is clean and goes back to our backyard he won't reinfect himself.  She also said that he can't go on walks for the next few weeks which is a major bummer.

Walk's are Cannoli's favorite part of the day (after eating) as we've been going on three 15-20 minute walks each day.

Now that he's going to be locked up inside for the foreseeable future I'm pretty concerned about how we're going to keep him from going stir crazy.

Does anybody have any toy recommendations that I should pick up that can work his brain and hopefully mentally exhaust him?  I have a Kong which he does OK with and we also have a toy with squirrels that he's supposed to try and get out but that really doesn't do much for him.

Any help would be appreciated as I watch him now sitting at our backdoor basically begging to go out...Thanks.

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I'VE had several fosters over the years who had giardia, and I've done extensive research on it for this group, and frankly, your vet's instructions make no sense. Giardia has a 10-14 day incubation period, so the areas where he was defecationg for the 10-14 day period before the diagnosis are already contaminated. It's not like he first became contagious the day he was diagnosed, lol. So there is no sense in keeping him away from that area, because the damage is already done. Pick up all poop immediately and keep him on a leash to prevent excess sniffing, eating anything in the yard, or drinking from any outdoor water. Otherwise you're fine.
The stopping of walks for the next few weeks also makes no sense. It's very nice of your vet to be concerned about other dogs getting something from Cannoli, but there is no danger to Cannoli in going for walks. If he is on meds, he's protected anyway. And hopefully this vet gave you Panacur, (NOT METRONIDAZOLE/FLAGYL!!!!)  which is the preferred treatment and takes 3-5 days. After that, he's not contagious any more. So I would ignore this advice and go ahead and take him for his walks. Again, keep him from excess sniffing, contact with poop from other animals, and no eating or drinking anything on walks. 

Just noticed you're in Chicago. So am I. Very little chance of Cannoli''s getting reinfected from the yard with the kinds of temperatures we have and have had. Now the vet's advice makes even less sense, lol. 

This is from the CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/prevention-control-pets.html

In the soil 8,9

  • In cold temperatures (around 4°C/39.2°F), Giardia can survive for approximately 7 weeks (49 days).

Water 10

  • In water temperatures below 10°C/50°F (for example, lake water or puddle water during the winter, refrigerated water), Giardia can survive for 1–3 months.

I acknowledge that some folks have different ideas, and many folks (including me!) have established ideas about things.  I definitely will not be monitoring your decision.

I wonder how long it can survive in the soil at temperatures below zero, lol, which is what we've had here most of the winter. Definitely much colder than 39 degrees fahrenheit. And any shallow water is ice. How long do they say it can survive in ice?

This Pubmed abstract says

These results suggest Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts do not persist in the Norwegian terrestrial environment over winter, and when detected, will have been excreted since the previous winter.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14749905

Another says

Quantitation of cyst recovery after freezing and thawing demonstrated that a substantial loss occurred after 1 cycle of alternating temperature when low concentrations of cysts were used, but not with high concentrations of cysts. Cyst recovery, after 3 freezing and thawing cycles, was dramatically lowered irrespective of the initial cyst concentration.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2181108

So, it sounds like its tough to survive repeated freezing and thawing cycles, but if you have an infected animal around, that can be the source of Giardia.

After all, Giardia persists in Norway.

I read that article too.  Sounds like giardia would survive over winter in areas where there are a lot of wildlife droppings since *most* but not 100% of them get killed off by the freezing.  Around here that would mean where there are lots of bunnies, squirrels and raccoons which is pretty much everywhere :p we have coyotes and coywolves too but they usually stick to the woods.

Thanks for the thoughts.  I'll have to think about this.  I understand what you're saying but tough to go against the vets advice as new doggy parents.  I appreciate it though as a lot of what you said makes sense.  I also can tell from your number of posts that you're not just some random person on the internet and I'm guessing have a ton of knowledge.

The main issue for me is that our pup sniffs and chews on everything when he is outside.  He is always on a leash and is just so curious.  Lots of dog and coyote poop in our neighborhood and most of the time we're walking I don't even notice until he has stopped and taken a good sniff what he is looking at.  He chews on every stick he can find and sniffs everything while outside.  He also loves to lick the snow/ice on the ground.  In the end he's a very curious puppy.  

They did give us Panacur and an antibiotic.  She also recommended a probiotic and pumpkin to harden his stools.

If the "antibiotic" is metronidazole, I strongly advise not giving it. If you do, chances are good that once it is discontinued, your pup will have diarrhea that will be very hard to get rid of; metronidazole destroys all of the good bacteira in the gut which is necessary for proper stool formation, and if you do a search of this site, you'll see dozens if not hundreds of puppy owners who had this problem. Panacur is the treatment of choice for giardia, and no additional antibiotic is necessary. 
Probiotics are a good idea (and they are mandatory if you do use the metronidazole), but they need to be given at least two hours apart from the antibiotics/Panacur, and longer is better. They will need to be given for at least two weeks after the antibiotics are discontinued. And I'm hoping the probiotic is not Fortiflora, which some vets sell. It's a Purina product and not the best choice of probiotic. Plus it contains some lousy artificial flavoring ingredients. Proviable and iFlora are two good probiotics for dogs.
Regarding the sniffing and chewing on everything when outside, that's most likely how he got giardia in the firast place. And aside from health reasons, for training purposes it's essential that it not be allowed on walks, and that you keep your focus on your dog and learn to keep his focus on you. You can never start training good leash manners too early.

Lots to unpack here.  Thanks so much for all the time!

The probiotic is Proviable DC.  The antibiotic is metronidazole.  I doubt my wife will agree to stop giving it to him.  The vet did warn me about likely needing a second treatment of Panacur.  She didn't mention anything about timing of antibiotics/panacur vs. probiotic but what I'll probably do is give probiotic at lunch and antibiotic and panacur at breakfast and antibiotic at dinner (assuming we continue it).

I didn't realize the importance of not sniffing or chewing sticks on walks.  So in general the walk should only allow him to walk and not explore?  I thought I read after getting to where you are going to allow your pup to explore the new surroundings.  Is there any good way to do this without allowing him to sniff?  Any suggestions for teaching good walking habbits?

Thanks again!

For teaching good walking habits, you really want to get your pup into a good puppy class ASAP. 
As for exploring, the most important thing is for him to be focused on you, as you will learn in class. 
Proviable DC is a good probiotic. Be sure to continue it for a few weeks after the meds are discontinued.

This is the article that my vet recommended to me on the topic of giardia. It covers the reasons why Panacur is preferable to metronidazole:
 A broad spectrum dewormer called fenbendazole (Panacur®) seems to be the most reliable
treatment at this time. Metronidazole (Flagyl®) in relatively high doses has been a classical
treatment for Giardia but studies show it to only be effective in 67% of cases. The high doses
required to treat Giardia also have been known to occasionally result in temporary neurologic
side effects or upset stomach. For some resistant cases, both medications are used
concurrently.

Since Cannoli's case is not resistant as far as you know, this would seem to be a pretty good reason not to use metronidazole.

It also covers giardia in the environment: 
Giardia cysts are killed in the environment by freezing temperatures and by direct sunlight.

(Guess that answers that question, lol.)

https://www.marvistavet.com/sites/site-5348/documents/Giardia.pdf

"If neither of these are practical for the are to be disinfected, a chemical disinfectant will be
needed. The most readily available effective disinfectant is probably bleach diluted 1:10 in
water which required less than one minute of contact to kill Giardia cysts in one study. Organic
matter such as dirt or stool is protective to the cyst so on a concrete surface basic cleaning
should be effected prior to disinfection. Quaternary ammonia compounds can also be used to
kill Giardia cysts."

Yeah I figured they were likely killed by freezing.  I guess they survive the winter inside hosts or something getting passed around from one to the next?

Everything I've read says cysts 1-3 months at less than 10C... it's that cold here from November until March so that's the only thing that makes sense to me.

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