1. What are giardia and where are they found?
Giardia are microscopic motile organisms commonly found in birds in Sydney. They have a motile trophozoite and a cyst stage. Giardia attach to the small intestine and are passed in the faeces.
2. What is the route of transmission?
Giardia are often ingested from contaminated water supplies or contaminated faeces. The cyst stage can even survive in chlorinated water. Reinfection from cysts in contaminated water is common.
3. What are the clinical signs of giardiasis?
4. In which bird species are giardia seen?
In Sydney, giardia are commonly seen in cockatiels (especially lutino cockatiels) and less frequently in budgerigars. Giardia can occasionally be seen in any species of bird.
5. How are giardia identified in the live bird?
Fresh warm faecal smears will display these highly motile organisms at 400x magnification. False negatives are common. Flotation in zinc sulfate may improve the accuracy of a diagnosis.
6. What is the treatment for giardiasis?
Birds can be treated with Ronidazole (Ronnivet-S) in water for 7 days. Metronidazole (Flagyl) has also been used in the past, orally for 2-10 days.
The cage should be cleaned thoroughly daily and then disinfected. Quarantine all new birds until they are examined for giardia. Treatment of the often present secondary infections may also be necessary.
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