MOOM: Magic Oregano Oil Mix – the simple cure for giardia
The Quick Background Story
- If you are in dire need of a solution right now for giardia and coccidia use the button to jump to the MOOM recipe.
About a year and a half into my breeding journey, I had 3 litters on the ground and I lost 8 puppies in three weeks. The symptoms were all the same, but not at the same time. They would get loose stool, then runny diarrhea, they would get lethargic, and then if they didn’t turn around, they would die.
Everyone thought it was parvo, but the incubation period didn’t align. See parvo tends to hit in one fell swoop. One dog will get it, then as soon as they have symptoms, nearly all the dogs will contract it at the same time from the first dog. I couldn’t just test for parvo either, since I had just vaccinated for it a few days previous and vaccines can muddy the test results.
For this to be hitting dogs at different stages, it ruled out parvo. I’ve had parvo and once that first dog is sick, the rest of the litter will show symptoms within 24 hours of each other, even if that’s seven days later as it was in my parvo case.
I was up late every night reading and researching what could be killing these dogs. I had a pup I had just flown to Alaska and a few others a few hours away, all were getting sick.
Over those few weeks and after hundreds of hours of research and talking with vets, I realized it was giardiasis, or giardia. It is a protozoan infection that is zoonotic (different species can get it from one another—like humans from dogs).
Although losing eight puppies was horrible, it lead me to develop MOOM, the Magic Oregano Oil Mix, and it has saved countless lives since, including helping my other half, a human. I’ll explain MOOM and how to use it below. You’ll love it if you want a cost-effective, natural solution without side effects.
What is Giardia Stool like in dogs?
It is a stool that is softer, a bit grainy, sometimes there will be mucus. It has a sweet smell, but you can also smell a bit of iron. It is generally a lighter green/brown. If the dog’s gastrointestinal tract is losing the battle trying to fight it, then the stool will get more loose, turning more green, then yellow, then eventually pink. This usually takes a week to progress to the pink untreated, unlike parvo which can do this in about 48-72 hours. Parvo stool usually isn’t grainy, either, more liquidity right away.
Also, dogs will often have bloated bellies, dull coat, be often “ribby” where you can see their ribs showing, and will have very sulphuric gas.
How does giardia infect dogs?
Giardia is a gastrointestinal infection in dogs, and will not be able to infect any other part of their body, however it can have an impact on how well nutrition is absorbed.
It tends to “accumulate” in the GI tract, it lives and multiplies in the folds of the intestinal walls. The more exposure to cysts, the faster it can multiply. Unlike a virus or bacteria, the immune system cannot build immunity to giardia, but it appears that the gut flora can fight it and keep the GI tract in balance. This is why you’ll often see a dog with zero symptoms show giardia in a fecal test—the newer fecal tests are very sensitive. This is also why older dogs have less severe systems, their digestive tract is more stable than puppies.
In my opinion, if the dog shows zero symptoms of giardia, it is not worth treating it; the side effects on gut flora from chemical treatments for giardia are often harder to recover from than the actual giardia. It’s super hard to rebuild gut flora in dogs—or people for that matter. The best way to start a dog’s gut health is through colostrum the first three days of life, from a healthy bitch. If a dog has a good start there, I like to keep it. MOOM appears to work with the gut instead of against it.
In my experience, dogs who have been treated with antibiotics like metronidazole, often ruin their gut flora and it can takes weeks or months to recover, meanwhile they will be even more susceptible to reinfection of giardia and other GI infections. This is often why I see dogs go on metronidazole and about two weeks later they are often reinfected with more giardia or something else, there are no more gut flora to fight the new exposure.
On a side note: coccidia is also a protozoan infection, although most strains of coccidia are not zoonotic. Dogs are also better at managing an infection of coccidia. Nearly 50% of all dogs have coccidia and because of their immune system, it poses no threat to the dog once they are about six months old. Most dogs, including puppies, will recover from coccidia without treatment.
When Does Giardia Occur?
Many mature, older dogs can manage giardia with little impact on their system, but puppies often struggle. You’ll usually see a spike in giardia symptoms after the puppies take some sort of immune hit or when they have additional stress, like if there is a cold snap or they are weaning, or recovering from tail docking or injury.
Giardia cysts love to live in water and are dormant in dryer soil. Often giardia will be a natural part of more stagnant pond water. You’ll often see giardia symptoms after a rain, especially if the dogs are ingesting this water.
For example, before my kennels were concrete, I had puppies outside in a pen with a dirt floor that I attempted to cover in sand. The rain came, there was mud, the puppies, stepped into the drinking water with their muddy paws, and they all ingested it. Drinking infected water is the most common way to get it.
However, it can also come from nursing or cleaning. If a dog has the cysts on it, then when she licks herself, she can ingest it also. I found one way my puppies were getting it was by nursing on a bitch who had been in my pond, even if she had already dried off, the cysts were still on her.
I have found Dawn Soap to be effective in washing dogs and puppies that I suspect to have been exposed to giardia, used as a preventative measure. For example, if a bitch got in that pond water, I could wash her with Dawn prior to putting her back in with her puppies to nurse. Special attention was on her teats during bathing, as that’s where the puppies would be most liable to ingest the giardia.
While prevention of infection is by far the best route for the future, if you are dealing with it now, then these are your treatment options. Your best option will depend on where you are in the course of the infection.
If your puppies are starting to get grainy stool, look bloated, but are still eating and drinking, skip the medications below and use the Magic Oregano Oil Mix. If the puppy is lethargic and has little appetite, then use one of the drugs below, my preference is metronidazole, however, you may find your strain of giardia is more receptive to fenbendazole.
Metronidazole – Metronidazole is the old-school treatment that is generally tried and true. In humans it is given by the name Flagyl. It is an antibiotic, that is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. It wipes out giardia quickly, ceasing symptoms usually within 24-48 hours.
The problem is that it also wipes out the majority of the gut flora, therefore the dogs are more susceptible to reinfection about two weeks post treatment. Further, the more immature the GI tract, the more likely it will be effected, and the longer the recovery to make the gut flora healthy again.
Dosage is 7-11 mg/lb. Usually given twice daily, with the first dose being doubled. The variation will be based on pill size and what is an easy way to dose it. My vet is able to give me a liquid suspension of this for puppies and it is so much easier to dose to puppies using a needle-less syringe. You will need a prescription.
Fenbendazole – Fenbendazole is considered the “new” treatment for giardia, however I have found it is not effective on my strain of giardia that I have here, although some people swear by it. It comes in a few forms, but for puppies it is easiest to dose using the liquid form, again, with a syringe.
The Safeguard brand is fenbendazole. If you go to a feed store that sells goat supplies, usually they will sell it branded for goats and that’s in a liquid form. This by far the easiest way to give it to puppies or multi-dog families.
Dosage is 22.7 mg/lb. or 50 mg/kg. If you are using the goat liquid dewormer, it is a 10% suspension of 100mg/mL, this means that you need 1 mL for every 5 lbs. of weight, so 1 mL for a 5 lb. puppy, 5 mL for a 25 lb. dog, etc.
MOOM – Magic Oregano Oil Mix
If your puppy is just starting to get looser stool and it is still a green/brown. Then use the Magic Oregano Oil Mix! It works! Doesn’t have any side effects and won’t ruin the gastrointestinal tract!
To make it at home, buy some oregano essential oil, I happen to use Young Living, but I have used DoTerra with good results. I have used NOW brand, but it is diluted, you’ll want to check the ingredients if it is diluted or not. There are many brands of essential oil. If you test it on the back of your hand it’ll give you some insight into strength. If you put a drop on the back of your hand and rub it in, it should burn a bit. If it doesn’t, it is probably diluted.
Although the olive oil is not a part of the treatment for giardia and coccidia, it will dilute the oregano oil enough that it won’t burn the tongue of your dogs and hurt them, as oregano oil is a “hot” oil. My other half is a little crazy, and he actually takes a drop of the good stuff on his tongue every morning—gag me—but he’s used to it. As for puppies, they’ll hate you if you give it straight. Oddly, some of my dogs will enjoy it on their food.
You’ll pour 4 oz. of olive oil into a jar, I prefer mason jars. Then add the 25 drops of oregano oil to the solution. Put the cap on the jar and swirl it to mix it; you don’t want to shake it because the oregano oil is very strong and the seal will not be able to contain it in the jar. I don’t want you to have that mess on your hands. It can also chip paint on your car, so please be careful, and make sure to leave the jar standing.
I dose orally using a 3mL syringe, pulling it to whatever dosage I need.
If your puppy is greatly affected with giardia, then dose 3x daily at 2 mL, this dose is fine for nearly all size puppies and adults, however, the quantity of oil can be a lot for little pups, giving them the runs, so if your pups are under 5 lbs., then I would dose 1 mL.
While it is important to note that you CANNOT OVERDOSE the MOOM, as in you won’t get to a toxic level, you can possibly burn their throat with overdoing it. More so, you will have diminishing returns after three doses per day and since oregano oil isn’t exactly cheap, there’s no need to give it more than 3x daily.
Once the stools have some shape and are not liquid, you can dose 2x daily. When symptoms cease, then continue dosing oregano 1x daily for 7 more days.
If you are working with an adult dog who is fairly stable, then I recommend 2x daily until symptoms cease and then one additional week at 1x daily.
This can also be a daily routine and does not need to be “in treatment” of anything, it is an immune booster. Oregano is potent at fighting bacterial, protozoan, fungal, and viral infections.
For my puppies, I dose them with oregano oil any time their immune systems take a hit.