Giardia

ZenHerper

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Husbandry is not my issue. She is a greek tortoise and i have her on coco coir.

My concern at the moment is if i should be treating her for this giardia...and if so, what is the protocol. I will definitely not be putting her on shredded newspaper..i may be a newbie but i have some common sense lol!
Since giardia is contagious to people (like reptiles, we have variable immune response and success against them), veterinarians are essentially legally obligated to recommend treatment.

Protozoans will move quickly from dropped stool to moist, porous substrate. Stool should be removed from the enclosure upon first notice, with care being taken to scoop out a significant portion of the surrounding substrate. Some form of paper set up is easy to clean entirely upon notice of infective matter.

An asymptomatic animal probably has sufficient immune strength to manage the population, suffering no ill effects. Identification of a pathological population - even in the absence of symptoms - supports the choice to treat.

Everyone living and interacting with reptiles should always practice Best Standards of hygiene.
 

Hbomb

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So i have decided to treat my girl for the giardia. I do not have newspaper, so could i use paper towel to line her tank while treating her? Would dampening it help with keeping humidity? She is still a baby (about 5 months old)
 

wellington

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So i have decided to treat my girl for the giardia. I do not have newspaper, so could i use paper towel to line her tank while treating her? Would dampening it help with keeping humidity? She is still a baby (about 5 months old)
Yes you can use paper towel. You can also put a jug or bucket or bowl of water in the enclosure, do not put the top on it and it too will help with humidity. You should also raise the temp by 5 degrees. You want to keep her warm while fighting this off.
If Mark uses the vet and he has lots of turtles and tortoises I would stay with the vet. I would disregard any advice given that you know goes against the forums recommendations.
Its possibly they recommended the shredded paper thinking you were going to treat. Shredded paper or unshredded or paper towel is recommended when treating parasites and some wounds as you need to keep the enclosure very clean.
 

Markw84

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So i have decided to treat my girl for the giardia. I do not have newspaper, so could i use paper towel to line her tank while treating her? Would dampening it help with keeping humidity? She is still a baby (about 5 months old)
I have a problem myself treating a tortoise that small unless absolutely necessary. With no symptoms, I would question whether this is necessary. The treatment, drug, the killing of normal gut flora, and the stress is often way too much for a tortoise in its first year and can be much worse than the condition.

Did Dr Brick herself ID this a giardia? Last fecals I had them do for my tortoises I stood beside Dr Brick, wanting her to do the looking for signs of parasites, not her lab techs. I also shared the microscope with her to see what she was calling what. Giardia is not that common in tortoises, but EXTREMELY common in dogs. It is also a totally different species of giardia that can infect mammals than reptiles. Even a different species for amphibian vs birds! So the lab techs can perhaps be quick to call something they see that is a flagellate as giardia?
(Giardia is a flagellate - it is a flagellated protozoan). Most all flagellates you see in tortoises commonly is considered part of a normal fut flora. When you treat you will kill off a good portion of the good gut flora your tortoise needs to live and be healthy.

So be careful. I would call and talk to Dr Brick herself. Ask her is she's sure its giardia, and is she sure it needs to be treated as opposed to harmless or even beneficial gut flora. Ask some questions.
 

Hbomb

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I have a problem myself treating a tortoise that small unless absolutely necessary. With no symptoms, I would question whether this is necessary. The treatment, drug, the killing of normal gut flora, and the stress is often way too much for a tortoise in its first year and can be much worse than the condition.

Did Dr Brick herself ID this a giardia? Last fecals I had them do for my tortoises I stood beside Dr Brick, wanting her to do the looking for signs of parasites, not her lab techs. I also shared the microscope with her to see what she was calling what. Giardia is not that common in tortoises, but EXTREMELY common in dogs. It is also a totally different species of giardia that can infect mammals than reptiles. Even a different species for amphibian vs birds! So the lab techs can perhaps be quick to call something they see that is a flagellate as giardia?
(Giardia is a flagellate - it is a flagellated protozoan). Most all flagellates you see in tortoises commonly is considered part of a normal fut flora. When you treat you will kill off a good portion of the good gut flora your tortoise needs to live and be healthy.

So be careful. I would call and talk to Dr Brick herself. Ask her is she's sure its giardia, and is she sure it needs to be treated as opposed to harmless or even beneficial gut flora. Ask some questions.
I had to stay in the car due to covid they aren't allowing people in with the pets. I spoke with Dr. Brick directly on the phone and she stated a LARGE load of flagilets specifically giardia.
 

KarenSoCal

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So be careful. I would call and talk to Dr Brick herself. Ask her is she's sure its giardia, and is she sure it needs to be treated as opposed to harmless or even beneficial gut flora. Ask some questions.
Would it ever be appropriate to give a tort probiotics? Like after an antibiotic regimen regardless of illness, even after RI?
 

Markw84

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Would it ever be appropriate to give a tort probiotics? Like after an antibiotic regimen regardless of illness, even after RI?
Yes. That is very appropriate and I would recommend it. However, there are such specific types and balances of gut flora that species develop that it takes a while for it to all get into balance again. Aside from species to species differences there is also big differenced even population to population within a species. Even identical individuals will develop different gut flora balances depending upon where they are and the diet given. I think we all underestimate the importance of this in evaluating our husbandry and tortoise growth rates and health.
 

Markw84

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I had to stay in the car due to covid they aren't allowing people in with the pets. I spoke with Dr. Brick directly on the phone and she stated a LARGE load of flagilets specifically giardia.
Can you please keep us updated on the progress? We can all learn from your experience and how it all comes out. Good luck and wishing you and your tortoise the best outcome!
 

Hbomb

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Can you please keep us updated on the progress? We can all learn from your experience and how it all comes out. Good luck and wishing you and your tortoise the best outcome!
I started it yesterday and it’s definitely making her feel unwell. Soon after she ate it her poop was liquid and she wouldn’t eat for the rest of the day. She has yet to eat today. I called Mad ave vet and spoke with Dr. Brick and she explained more in depth why its best to treat her and that she may not feel well but she will be okay. I really hope that i do not regret this.
 

Markw84

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I started it yesterday and it’s definitely making her feel unwell. Soon after she ate it her poop was liquid and she wouldn’t eat for the rest of the day. She has yet to eat today. I called Mad ave vet and spoke with Dr. Brick and she explained more in depth why its best to treat her and that she may not feel well but she will be okay. I really hope that i do not regret this.
The liquid was a release of fluid like peeing, not poop. It takes at least a week for anything to work its way through a tortoise! The water release is also a fright reflex. Your tortoise probably did that out of stress. Be sure to bath perhaps a couple times a day until settled down.
 

Hbomb

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It was definitely poop...it was brown. I know what her pee looks like. So maybe the parasites were getting to her then..because literally 30 minutes after she ate the meds it happened...then again 20 mins after that. Today she ate, got lots of outside sun, 2 soaks, some pumpkin and her greens. She is actually walking around more today too which makes me feel better. She was freaking me out this morning/afternoon.
 

Hbomb

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Just an update! I start the second round of her treatment tomorrow, then she is all done and hopefully cleared! To be honest aside from the liquid stool on day one, she has been pretty unphased by the treatment. I will update after this round is over.
 
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