This is a protocol that I heard about many years ago for getting rid of Giardia, and have used many times successfully (and safely) in cats and dogs.
This protocol utilizes digestive enzymes on an empty stomach. With no food in the system, the digestive enzymes go to work on anything else that might be in the intestines–including parasites. Although it has not been tested with other protozoal parasites, it could theoretically work for Coccidia, Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidia, Neosporum, Tritrichomonas foetus, and similar protozoal parasites.
You’ll need a bottle of digestive enzymes (plant or fungal based) and one or more syringes; you can usually talk your vet into giving you a few 3 or 6 cc syringes (without needles).
Do not use products containing solely animal-based enzymes or pancreas extracts. While such products will not hurt your pet, plant or fungal enzymes are more likely to survive the stomach’s acidic environment, and still be working when they get to their destination.
You can buy enzymes at any health food store, or order online. However, avoid enzymes in combination with herbs or food supplements. The pet product Prozyme works well; or you can use a human supplement such as Source Naturals Daily Essential Enzymes, Jarrow-Zymes Plus, or Enzymatic Therapy’s Mega-Zyme.
If possible, use a product containing protease, amylase, and lipase (some also contain cellulase). These digest protein, starch, and fat, respectively. If you have trouble finding a good combo product, you can theoretically use protease (such as bromelain or papain) alone. However, the results may not be as good.
Enzymes MUST be given on an empty stomach for best results.
Take one (1) dose (according to label directions for pet products) or one (1) capsule of enzymes (human product) for each animal to be treated. If you’re using a capsule, open it and just use the contents. Do not give the capsule whole; the gelatin in the capsule will interfere with the enzymes’ effects.
Mix the powder or capsule contents with a tiny amount of water to make a slurry. Use the syringe to give the slurry by mouth. In most cases it’s easiest to insert the syringe in the corners of the mouth between or behind teeth and squirt. The mixture does not taste that bad, but some cats are just not gracious about taking meds. So, be careful, but firm.
Give enzymes three (3) times a day. It is not necessary that they be evenly spaced. Before work, after work, and at bedtime is a schedule that works for many people. Give 1/2 to 1 hour before meals.
Give one (1) dose of digestive enzymes 1/2 to 1 hour before morning and evening meals, and one (1) dose at bedtime. Take the syringe apart and rinse clean after each dose (otherwise the residue builds up and the plunger will stick). Repeat daily for eight (8) days.
Take a break for seven (7) days. This allows time for resistant cysts to “hatch.”
Repeat digestive enzyme treatment for seven (7) days.
- If you leave food out for your pet 24/7, this protocol will NOT work. Food must be given only in meals, separately from the enzymes (1/2 to 1 hour after the enzymes).
- If there is food in the system, the enzymes will digest that instead of the Giardia, and be carried out of the digestive tract with the food. They need time to work, and they need to be all by themselves.
- If there is anything else given with the enzymes, such as probiotics or vitamins or flavorings, the enzymes will digest those. However, simple sugars or single amino acids are fine.
- Do not try to hide the enzymes in a pill pocket or a piece of cheese – remember, the tummy must be empty!
- You may also add enzymes to your pet’s food to improve digestion overall, but mixing enzymes with food will not have any effect on Giardia.
- The protocol must be done exactly as written for best results.
You are free to make any additions, substitutions, or changes you want to the protocol, but if you do, then it is no longer the same protocol and it may not work. The protocol must be done exactly as written for best results.