Giardia spp. are flagellates that are found in the intestinal tract of humans and domestic and wildlife animals, including birds and amphibians, worldwide. The genus Giardia comprises several species which are morphologically similar. Giardia infections have been reported widely in livestock and companion animals with varying prevalence in different parts of the world. Giardiasis, the disease cause by Giardia, may result in numerous episodes of diarrhoea, especially in young animals, which in turn adversely affect production resulting in economic loses. The affected animals may also act as a source of zoonotic infections. Evidence of infection in both animals and humans of Giardia duodenalis especially of assemblage A and B has firmly established giardiasis as a zoonotic disease. The zoonotic assemblage A and B have been reported in livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs) and companion animals (dogs, cats, horses). However, questions regarding the direct transmission of Giardia from domestic animals to humans still need to be explored. Appropriate prevention and control measures are cardinal in preventing both animal and human infections. This chapter discusses G. duodenalis infection and the disease including treatment options in livestock and companion animals.
Part of the book: Giardiasis