Those Ol' Nasty Internal Parasites
and What I Need To Know
Did you know that 95% of puppies are born with intestinal worms! These parasites can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, stunted growth and at times, even death. So here are a few that you can learn about:
• ROUNDWORMS: The most common type of worm, resemble strands of spaghetti (about 2-3 inches long) and live in the small intestine, and can infect humans, too. This type of worm can be passed several ways: by mother dog at birth, or via the stools of other cats and dogs. Prompt treatment and use of a monthly preventative medication protect us as well as our pets.
• HOOKWORMS: Small fine worms, about half inch long, that attach to the walls of the small intestine, and are usually transmitted by infested stools of other cats or dogs, or via the mother's uterus or her milk. This type of worm can cause skin disease in humans if left untreated. Prompt treatment can protect us as well as our pets.
These worms live in the large intestine. They are not as common as the other intestinal parasites but the disease they cause can be very serious. SYMPTOMS: Bloody diarrhea and weight loss. These worms are transmitted by ingestion of the stolls of infested animals.
• TAPEWORMS: Also live in the small intestine, where the head attaches to the intestinal wall and produces a chain of segments. Mature segments contain eggs that are passed with the stool, or may be seen around the rectum. They resemble small grains of rice. may be acquired by ingesting rodents, birds or more commonly, through the ingestion of fleas. Flea control is essential to control tapeworm infestation.
• COCCIDIA: Are 1-celled protozoal parasites, more like bacteria rather than "worms." Puppies can pick these up from their mother, and they can also be acquired by eating rabbit or other wildlife droppings. This parasite is treated with antibiotics.
• GIARDIA: Are also protozoans. They are very difficult to pick up on a regular stool check, but special stool tests are available to diagnose this common parasite. Antibiotics or special de-wormers help to handle this problem, but this little nasty can be difficult to eradicate completely and often flare-up with stress or other intestinal problems. You should know that this is contagious to humans, too.
Regular checkups with us will help to ensure that your pet is not being reinfested by its environment. And always remember to clean their potty areas daily as well. A little prevention can go a long way to having a happy and healthy dog.
► HEARTWORMS IN DOGS
This is a deadly parasite carried by mosquitoes. By blood testing your dog each Spring and giving preventative medication throughout the mosquito season, you can save your dog from needless suffering and death.
Each year thousands of dogs become permanently debilitated or die from lung, heart or circulatory problems caused by heartworms. Your dog can have heartworms for several months before symptoms are obvious. By then, the disease may be difficult or impossible to treat successfully.
SYMPTOMS: An infected dog becomes less active and tires easily. Coughing, weight loss, chronic fatigue and fainting may appear in advanced disease stages. Adult heartworms are found the heart, lungs and major blood vessels. Secondary liver and kidney disease may result. Heartworms can grow from 5 to 14 inches long. In advanced cases, a hundred or more worms have been found in a single heart.
☑ SYMPTOMS, via American Heartworm Society
PREVENTION: A simple blood test is required before starting your pet on effective, easy-to-use preventive medication. A life threatening reacont can occur if this medication is administered to an infected pet. Annual testing is recommended even with a year-round use of the medication. Make sure your pet is tested and protected. Don't gamble with your pet's life!
TREATMENT: Successful treatment depends on early detection and close veterinary supervision. If permanent damage has occurred, prognosis is very poor. However, we are happy to say thatmost of our clients who own dogs do have them tested for heartworms and put them on preventative medication every year. It is easy and inexpensive to test for and prevent heartworm disease. The blood test requires only a brief office visit.