Saturday, 31 December 2011

Deworming Your Dog

At some point or another, your dog will have a worm problem. Whether it’s as a puppy (which is most common) or as an adult dog, immediate treatment is vital to stop further infestation and the development of other illnesses.
The usual intestinal parasite suspects that we know are tape worm, round worm, hook worm and whip worm. Heartworms are found in the heart's blood vessels going to the lungs. Blood tests will be required to detect heartworms. Tape worms and round worms can be visually diagnosed, the others can only be determined through faecal examination. It is imperative to do regular de-worming of all types dogs, including puppies and pregnant females. This will definitely reduce infestation of your pet and prevent infection to humans.
Round worm symptoms include, vomiting, coughing, diarrhoea, bowel obstruction, pneumonia, a dull coat, and a swollen stomach. Severe cases can be fatal. Round worms are usually 3 – 6 inches long and they can infect dogs by ingestion, across the placenta, or can be transferred to puppies through the mother's milk.

Worms can be passed from animal to human. Children are the most vulnerable, as the eggs can be picked up from stroking their pet and then using dirty hands to eat, or even more commonly picking up eggs from a sandpit or dirt outside. Once in a child's system worms can cause a variety of health problems, they can reside behind the retina which can cause damage to the eyesight. This disease is called Toxocariasis, and has been known in this day and age to still cause partial blindness in up to 100 children each year.
At 2 weeks of age puppies should be dewormed and then again at 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks. It is vital then to continue deworming at 4 months, 5 months and then at 6 months old. This regular deworming pattern kills all worms and their eggs, whether contracted as a foetus, through infected mother’s milk, or by consuming the eggs. At 6 months of age, you will want to start a heartworm medication treatment once per month. Another important point is to deworm the mother at the same time as the puppies. The cycle won’t be broken if one of them has been treated at a different time.
Infestation on a small scale will not be a big threat to your dogs health as although they have varied levels of immunity most have an inbuilt resistance to worms. An abundance of worms however would impair the health of your dog dramatically. The vitamins and nutrients needed by your pet will be used up by the worms. The tissues and the red blood cells will be destroyed which could lead to anaemia.

For adult dogs worming treatments may be more flexible. Some people prefer to keep their pets on a quarterly programme others like to only treat them when they have an infestation.  I would strongly advise speaking to your vet about whether or not continual flea and deworming treatments throughout your pets life is necessary. If you have more than one dog it will be probably be a more regular requirement, but again check all medication needs with your vet. It’s not worth being wrong for either your dog or you and your family.

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