As the snow melts, cases of canine giardia can increase

Mar 30, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: 7:00 pm

As Utah's snowpack begins to melt, giardia cases in dogs can increase. That's because the dog feces...

Service dog Sully at a Bicameral press conference in the U.S. Capitol Building on March 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for America's VetDogs)

(Paul Morigi/Getty Images for America's VetDogs)

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah’s snowpack begins to melt, giardia cases in dogs can increase.

That’s because the dog feces that is buried underneath and between layers of snow begins to incorporate with the melting snow and create contaminated groundwater. Veterinarians admit that the strain of giardia that affects dogs is rare, still, dogs that get it can infect other dogs.

“The younger animals are going to be more prone to get it,” said veterinarian Libby Gutting. “Adult healthy dogs might be exposed but never become a positive.”

The symptoms dog owners should watch out for include diarrhea, vomiting, foul-smelling gas, decreased appetite and weight loss.

Gutting said a dog can pick up Giardia by simply stepping in water that’s been contaminated and licking its paws. 

And there’s an easy way humans can help it from forming in the first place.

“We should always have poop bags, and pick it up and put it in the trash. Not just leaving it there,” Gutting said. “That’s how a lot of things get into the groundwater or into the ground that can transfer to other animals or people.”

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As the snow melts, cases of canine giardia can increase