Worming your bullies -everything you need to know
Dangers of worms in dogs its not something we should ignore , no matter how well we all care for our bullies they can still get worms -they can be not only dangerous to them but also to us -humansNot every owner worm their dogs and i cannot stress enough the importance of worming our beloved companions.In this small blog post i will list as much information about worming and worms as i can to give you in depth information that will hopefully encourage those who dont worm their dogs ,or give a little bit of clarity of what we deal with .
1) types of worms
Roundworms look like short lengths of spaghetti, curled up into a coil. The adult worms live in the dog or catís intestines, feeding on the contents Ė in effect, stealing your dog or catís food! They grow to around 4 inches in length, and there may be dozens of them in the intestines of a heavily infected animal. In this situation, itís not surprising that the dog or cat may be undernourished, with a dull coat, and lacking energy. Other symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting and weight loss. However, many infestations are symptom-less. In the adult dog, the worm larvae migrate into the body and form cysts in the muscles. There they may lay dormant for years, only to be activated in times of stress. The commonest situation that results in their awakening is pregnancy, when large numbers of worm larvae migrate into the puppy in the uterus (womb), infecting it before it is even born.
This roundworm can also infect people, and children are particularly vulnerable to some very serious effects
In dogs, there are 4 ways witch roundworm infection can occur
- Consuming infective worm eggs from soil in the environment (generally through normal grooming).
- Nursing from an infected mother dog.
- Consuming a prey animal (usually rodent) that is carrying developing worms.
- During embryonic development when an infected mother dog is pregnant (most puppies are infected this way).
Tapeworms are made up of strings of long flat segments, and can grow even longer than roundworms; the most common is dipylidium caninum, which can reach up to 70cm in length. Using sharp teeth to attach themselves to the gut wall, they continuously produce new segments that are packed with eggs and which gradually break off, and are excreted with the dogís faeces. Sometimes they become stuck around the anus, when the irritation may make the dog scoot his bottom along the ground ó although this action can also be due to blocked or infected anal glands.
They also inhabit the dogís intestine, anchored to the intestinal wall by the head and growing a continuous ribbon of segments, each packed with eggs. The segments gradually break off and are passed out in the faeces. These segments look like grains of rice and may wriggle like a maggot for a short time before they dry up (sometimes still attached to your dog's fur). One most commonly occurring species of tapeworm is transmitted by fleas. Immature fleas pick up infection from dog faeces in the environment and dogs are then infected if they accidentally swallow an adult flea during grooming. There is also a less common type of tapeworm which uses mice, other rodents and rabbits to complete its life-cycle. This parasite lies dormant in the muscle or other organs of a small rodent or rabbit and dogs are infected if they eat these animals.
The whipworm of the dog (Trichuris vulpis) is substantially smaller than the other worms (a mere 30-50 mm in length, about two inches maximum) and is rarely seen as it lives in the cecum (the part of the large intestine where the small and large intestine meet). The ďheadĒ (or more accurately the digestive end of the worm) is skinny versus its stout tail (or reproductive end) which gives the worm a whip shape, hence the name.Infection occurs when whipworm eggs are eaten by dogs from their environment. Eggs are difficult to kill and can survive in the environment for up to a year or more.
Lungworm is a parasite carried by slugs and snails; itís been present in the UK for around 30 years. Parasites within infected slugs and snails that are eaten by a dog develop into adult worms, which live in the heart and arteries of the lungs; larvae that are passed out in the dogís faeces are eaten by other slugs and snails and so the cycle continues.
The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum is a potentially lethal parasite that can infect dogs, and is spreading across the UK.
Sometimes referred to as the French Heartworm, left untreated this parasite represents a very serious risk to a dogís health and can kill. On a positive note, increased awareness amongst vets of the condition and the availability of an effective spot-on flea and worm product means that vets are well placed to manage the disease.
Dogs catch lungworm through eating slugs and snails which carry the larvae of the parasite. While most dogs do not habitually eat slugs and snails, they may do so by accident e.g. when a slug or snail is sitting on a bone or a favourite toy, or when drinking from a puddle or outdoor water bowl.
Some dogs take great pleasure in eating these miniature Ďtreatsí, and should be considered at risk from infection.
Foxes can also become infected, and the increase in urban fox populations might be a reason for the spread of the parasite across the country.
There are many signs to be aware of, although an infected dog may appear totally healthy. Coughing, reluctance to exercise, depression, weight loss, fits, vomiting, diarrhoea and persistent bleeding from even minor cuts are all possible signs. Dogs under the age of two appear to be more susceptible than older dogs, though dogs of all ages and breeds can be affected. The wide range of signs can easily be confused with other illnesses so contacting your veterinary practice is important. Early diagnosis by a vet, followed by appropriate treatment, will usually lead to a full recovery.
If you suspect your dog may have eaten a slug or a snail or is exhibiting any of the signs of lungworm, it is important that you make an appointment at your vet for a check-up. Your vet can perform a relatively simple test that can help determine whether your dog is infected.
2) How often to worm
When a wormer is given, although it removes worms already present in the digestive tract, it doesnít have a residual effect, but leaves your dogís system after a few days, so it wonít prevent re-infection. This is why itís important to have a year-round programme in place.
Frequency of worming depends on the product you use, the age of your dog and your lifestyle. Puppies are generally wormed every two to three weeks from the age of two weeks until 12 weeks old, then monthly until six months old, after which every three months is usually sufficient.
Dogs who are inclined to scavenge, who live in households with young children, who are heavily infested or who live in high risk areas where certain types of parasites are present may need worming more frequently. It may be felt best to keep treatment of those dogs who are suffering from chronic disease to the minimum necessary.
These are all points that you can discuss with your vet when working out a worming programme suitable for your particular dog, his environment and the type of product you decide to use.
sources : wikipedia, loungwormawaye, southilvets. nutrecare