Internal Parasites

/Internal Parasites

Internal Parasites

It’s a fact. Parasites are just some of the unpleasant encounters many pet owners face at some point throughout their dog’s life.

During the warmer months, parasites flourish as this is the time when they are actively seeking out our furry friends. While puppies are the most susceptible to intestinal worms — some growing up to 18cm in length, dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes can be infested. In fact, parasites do not discriminate when they’re looking for a bite-size host.

But the good news is, parasite outbreaks can be treated and contained, and you can prevent a severe infestation by introducing safe hygiene practices in the home.

Also take your dog to your veterinarian for a bi-annual checkup. During the examination, your vet will have the opportunity to diagnose, treat and counter any other health issue that can affect your dog and family — especially the ones we cannot see such as intestinal worms and heartworms.

The most common intestinal worms are hookworm, whipworm, roundworm and tapeworm; and like heartworms, they each are capable of having a harmful effect on your canine companion.

Intestinal Worms:

The complex nature of intestinal worms is important to understand so you may treat and prevent an outbreak.

Tapeworms which are flat, segmented worms, need to first pass through fleas to reach your dog, and can be extremely dangerous if the larvae has migrated to form cysts in other tissues. This is why it’s important for you to first safeguard your dog against fleas and maintain regular worming treatments to reduce the potential threat of an outbreak [or another from reoccurring].

Roundworms look like thin spaghetti and often appear in an infected animal’s faeces or vomit.

Whipworms are a type of roundworm, named for its whip-like shape.

Hookworms are microscopic in size and have a hook-like mouthpart that attaches itself to the small intestine and feeds off blood vessels; often causing severe anaemia.

Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Increased flatulence
  • Blood in stools
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Low red blood cell count (anaemia)

To help counter an outbreak, promptly cleaning up your dog’s faeces at home, on the street, and at your local dog park. Also keep your dog’s environment clean and avoid contamination by regularly cleaning its water bowls. Also, ensure that all household members follow your lead and practice good hygiene. This includes washing hands after working in the garden, playing with your pets, and cleaning up after your pets.

Heartworm:

This thread-like worm can cause cardiac and circulatory problems in dogs of all breeds, age, and size, and can be fatal.

Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Coughing or wheezing

Remember, it’s always better to prevent a parasitic outbreak than to cure. As our dog behavioural specialist for some tips on the best preventative measures in the home.

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