What’s the Scoop with Giardia?

The NOT-SO-CUTE parasite called Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes a very un-microscopic effect on both humans and pets. People and pets become infected by this parasite by ingesting it. It is found on surfaces, in soil, food or water that has been contaminated with feces (poop) from infected humans or animals. Giardia has somewhat of a hard, outer shell. This shell allows for it to survive outside a host for long periods. Unfortunately, making it quite resistant to common methods of disinfection. The most common mode of transmission for Giardia is ingestion through drinking contaminated water.

How do you know if this unwelcome visitor has infected your pet? The most common symptoms you may see are diarrhea, greasy looking poop, discomfort in the abdomen. The discomfort can be seen as hunching, lethargy or downward dog position, and vomiting. Your dog or cat might get infected by:

  • Being in contact with infected feces (poop) from another dog or cat
  • Rolling and playing in contaminated soil
  • Grooming after contact with a contaminated surface (for example, a dirty litter box or dog cage or crate)
  • Drinking water from a contaminated creek, pond, or other bodies of water

Young pets, like puppies and kittens, have a higher risk of illness than adult dogs and cats. If you suspect your pet has Giardia, please contact your veterinarian. A fecal flotation may be the next step in the diagnosis. Your vet may ask you to bring in a fecal sample which will be processed using special chemicals. It will then be put onto a slide and viewed under a microscope by a Registered Veterinary Technician. It takes a skilled eye to determine the presence of this pesky pest.

If Giardia is infecting your pet, the treatment may include antibiotics. Many factors can contribute to the appropriate treatment of giardia in your pet such as the condition of the immune system, environmental factors, medical history and nutritional status.

Giardia is also known more commonly in the human world as Beaver Fever. It categorizes the parasite as being zoological, meaning both humans and animals can contract it. Make sure that when handling a pet that may show symptoms of giardia, please wash your hands! The risk of contracting the parasite from your pet is small as humans usually contract a different strain of Giardia than pets do, but it is possible.

We hope that knowing more about Giardia will help you ward off this little pest. There is no “preventative” out there however, being aware of the signs and symptoms and knowing how giardia is contracted may help you to reduce the risk to your pets. While walking in the woods with your faithful fur-baby, maybe think twice about letting them take a dip in that sludgy, stagnant pond!

Happy Tummies!

Written by: Van Isle Veterinary Hospital



Get a Cupcake and Support BC Animals in Need During Treat Week (Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020)

Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is super excited to be hosting our 4th annual cupcake day fundraiser! BCSPCA celebrates “Treat Week” across the Province from Feb 24th – March 1st 2020 where business, pet owners and animal lovers can bake up a storm and sell treats with the proceeds going to BC animals in need.

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Last updated: March 30, 2021

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

As you can imagine, we have a significant backlog of surgeries and wellness/vaccine exams to catch up on and we will be working hard over the next several weeks to do just that. We want to thank everyone in advance for your patience while we work through this. Although restrictions have been lifted, our health and safety protocols have not. It is important we continue to follow the guidelines set out by Worksafe BC and social distance our large team as much as possible. This means although we can offer these elective services, we are doing much fewer during the day then we were pre-COVID.


We are very excited to welcome you back into our lobby! We have put some important safety measures in place to help keep our clients and our team safe.


The use of our online store for easy ordering, payment and delivery of our pet's food, flea and tick medications. Orders over $100 can be delivered to your home for free! CLICK HERE


During the first 8 weeks of COVID, we were operating as a 24-hour facility to better serve our community and to maintain social distancing within our team. However, as the COVID-19 situation changes, so do we!

Our team of doctors felt it was important to get back to performing your pet's much needed regular services. In order to do so safely, we had to once again change the way we do business. 

As such, effective October 6, 2020, we will no longer be available for after-hours, on call services between midnight and 7:00 am. After-hours emergency care will be referred to Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital between the hours of midnight - 7:00 am. They can be reached at 250-933-0913.

We will continue to be available until midnight for your call-in, after hours needs.

Our regular hours of operation remain the same:

Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital