Girardia Parasite in Soil

Asked February 20, 2019, 8:47 PM EST

I am a landscape contractor and one of my customer's dog picked up the girardia parasite. My customer was wondering if the lawn can be treated with some chemical to prevent further human spread or prevent reinfection of the dog. Is there such a chemical? The dog had diarrhea and spread feces all around the yard, also likely spreading the parasite. I read that the parasite can last up to 7 weeks in cold wet weather....which we have had. Any pointers?

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

Hi - Thank you for reaching out. Being persistent and diligent in cleaning and removing feces is the best approach for preventing reinfection and spreading the disease to other animals or people. Unfortunately, there is no lawn treatment applications that will kill the giardia parasite.

First, I would strongly encourage your client to take their dog to their veterinary to start treatment. If the dog is having frequent diarrhea, they need to bath the dog frequently to remove giardia cysts from their coat. Second, I would strongly encourage them to promptly remove feces from their yard or anywhere else the animal defecates. Using gloves and washing their hands will help prevent the parasite spreading to people. Third, limiting the dog's exposure to where they have defecated will help prevent reinfection. As you already read, giardia cysts can remain dormant in the environment for a long period of time.

Also for you, it is important for you to use gloves and disinfecting the bottom of your shoes after you do any work in their yard. A bleach and water solution can be used to disinfect your shoes. That will help protect you from infection as well as prevent the spread of giardia to other pets in their neighborhood or your home.

The CDC and Merrick Veterinary Manual are good resources to share with your client if they need more information.

Best of luck,
Kristen