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Humane Society of Utah Alerts Public of a Possible Parasite Outbreak

Two women examine a black and tan dog.


News Release

Humane Society of Utah Alerts Public of a Possible Parasite Outbreak

Murray, Utah, March  29, 2023 — Humane Society of Utah officials are alerting the public of a possible parasite outbreak after several dogs were surrendered from different homes with confirmed cases of Giardia. Giardiasis is a common parasitic infection that can cause diarrhea in dogs. It is caused by an intestinal parasite called Giardia, found in feces-contaminated soil, food, and water. HSU officials believe the cases are tied to people who visit busy off-leash dog parks and hiking areas. 

“As the snow melts, much of the pet waste which was hidden by the snow can now expose dogs to Giardia,” says Dr. Timna Fischbein, DVM, medical director at Humane Society of Utah. “The cysts are trophozoites protected by an outer shell and shed in the dog’s stool. Cysts can survive in the surrounding environment for months. They are instantly infectious, and just a few ingested cysts can cause infection. A dog can easily get infected by grooming themselves and licking the cysts off their paws.”

While this parasite can be spread in several ways, water is the most common way to spread the parasite. Therefore, HSU officials advise avoiding high-traffic areas such as dog parks and foothill trails while muddy and wet.


  • Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, excess foul-smelling gas, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
  • Seek veterinary care if your pet has diarrhea that is not going away. Diarrhea has different causes and could result in dehydration or other serious problems.
  • A licensed veterinarian must make a diagnosis and treatment for Giardia infection.
  • No approved over-the-counter treatment is available for Giardia infection.
  • Clean and disinfect potentially contaminated items (for example, toys, water bowls and food bowls, pet bedding, floors, dog crates, linens, and towels) regularly for as long as your pet is sick.
  • If your pet is taking medication, clean and disinfect potentially contaminated items frequently (daily if possible) until a few days after the last dose of medication is given.
  • Bathe all household pets with pet shampoo following medical treatment to ensure no feces are in the pet’s coat.


About the Humane Society of Utah

The Humane Society of Utah is dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear, and suffering in all animals. Since 1960, the Utah Humane Society has been sheltering homeless animals, fighting cruelty and neglect, and creating an atmosphere of respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals. As the largest open-admission private animal resource center in the state, the Utah Humane Society welcomes any companion animal that can legally be admitted. We work hard to ensure that every healthy and treatable pet that enters the facility will be placed into a loving home. The Humane Society of Utah is a local, independent 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization that does not receive any state or government funding and is not a branch of any national organization. It is funded by the contributions of individuals, businesses, and foundations. Read more online at

4242 South 300 West Murray, UT 84107 / 801-261-2919 / / @utahhumane 

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