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Published: Mar 28, 2012

Giardiasis, commonly known as giardia, is an intestinal infection caused by a small internal parasite. Although relatively uncommon, giardia has been known to affect cats, dogs and humans, so it is something that every pet owner should be aware of.

Giardia is the name of a small, protozoal parasite that clings to the intestinal wall of an animal or human. Typically, this parasite is ingested through food or water - a contaminated water supply, for example, may contain giardia. The infection may also spread in the body, and has been shown to be move from pets to humans as well.

The most common clinical sign of giardia in cats is diarrhea.  Although many different illnesses cause diarrhea in cats, the stool caused by giardia will be particularly foul smelling, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. It may also be soft or watery and have a greenish tinge to it. In particularly bad cases, blood may be present as well, and the cat may begin to vomit.

If your cat has diarrhea of this description, you should make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. The infection is typically not fatal, but complications can arise in older felines or those with immune system deficiencies.