Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Giardiasis

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney

Introduction

  • Cause: Giardia spp protozoa which belongs to the phylum Sarcomastigophora.
  • Signs: diarrhea; many are asymptomatic.
  • Diagnosis: microscopy, ELISA.
  • Treatment: similar to that used in dogs and cats; antibiotic therapy.
  • Prognosis: guarded.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Giardia spp protozoa which belongs to the phylum Sarcomastigophora.
  • Giardia intestinalis (syn. Giardia duodenalis) has been isolated in ferrets.

Pathophysiology

  • The organism can disrupt intestinal mucosa causing diarrhea.
  • It is shed in the feces.
  • Transmission is fecal-oral.

Epidemiology

  • May be more likely in endemic geographic areas, particularly if the ferret is taken outdoors, drinks out of puddles, etc.
  • Also may be exposed if other pets in the household have the parasite, particularly symptomatic dogs with diarrhea.
  • Studies performed in Europe have shown that Giardia is uncommon in ferrets and that cause-effect in cases of diarrhea is not completely understood. Most cases have actually been diagnosed by ELISA, and direct microscopic examination of feces does not seem to detect most of these cases.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Pantchev N, Broglia A, Paoletti B et al (2014) Occurrence and molecular typing of Giardia isolates in pet rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs and ferrets collected in Europe during 2006-2012. Vet Rec 175 (1), 18 VetMedResource.
  • d’Ovidio D, Pepe P, Ianniello D et al  (2014) First survey of endoparasites in pet ferrets in Italy. Vet Parasitol 203 (1-2), 227-230 PubMed.
  • Pantchev N, Gassmann D & Globokar-Vrhovec M (2011) Increasing numbers of Giardia (but not coccidian) infections in ferrets, 2002 to 2010. Vet Rec 168 (19), 519 PubMed.
  • Abe N, Tanoue T, Noguchi E et al (2010) Molecular characterization of Giardia duodenalis isolates from domestic ferrets. Parasitol Res 106 (3), 733-736 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Perpinan D & Johnson-Delaney C A (2017) Disorders of the Digestive System and Liver. In: Ferret Medicine and Surgery. Ed: Johnson-Delaney C A. CRC Press, USA. pp 159-190.
  • Patterson M M, Fox J G & Eberhard M L (2014) Parasitic Diseases. In: Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Wiley & Sons, Ames, USA. pp 553-572. 


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