Dog Worming



The four main categories of worms that affect the intestinal tract are hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm and whipworm. In the tropical climates heartworm is also a problem (it lives in the right ventricle of the heart).
Breeding bitches should be wormed three or four times a year, including a treatment midway through pregnancy, with a safe worming preparation that covers roundworm, whipworm, hookworm and tapeworm. Vaccinations against distemper and hepatitis midway through the pre 2 nancy will give the pups a healthy, passive immunity which will last the:: to the age of six to nine weeks. The antibodies developed against the vaccination will be passed to the young pups in the colostrum in the first twenty-four to thirty-six hours of suckling.
Pregnant dogs should be wormed at three and six weeks Puppies at three weeks and each two weeks until 12 weeks of age and then three times per year for life. Always dispose of dog farces Keep dogs well groomed and flea free. Wash hands after handling animals. Avoid contact with dogs feces. Don’t foul public places.

Hookworms

Hookworms are 10-20 millimeters in length, and the adult forms are found firmly attached to the lining of the gut. Surveys indicate that in many canine populations the incidence is about 35 per cent.
The life cycle of hookworms is direct—there is no intermediate host, although transport hosts (for example, mice) can play a part in the worm’s transmission.
Female hookworms are prolific egg producers, averaging an output of 10 000 to 30 000 eggs per female per day. A heavily infected puppy can pass Hookworms Hookworms are 10-20 millimeters in length, and the adult forms are found firmly attached to the lining of the gut. Surveys indicate that in many canine populations the incidence is about 35 per cent.
The life cycle of hookworms is direct—there is no intermediate host, although transport hosts (for example, mice) can play a part in the worm’s transmission.
Female hookworms are prolific egg producers, averaging an output of 10 000 to 30 000 eggs per female per day. A heavily infected puppy can pass consideration should be given to early weaning and worming treatment of puppies, together with housing of the dogs on suspended wire floors. It is possible that a vaccination against hookworm will be produced in the foreseeable future.



Heartworm

Heartworm affects dogs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. As the name implies, heartworms live in the chambers of the heart, and feed on the blood. The worms are thin and 12-30 centimeters in length. The number of worms that occupy an infected dog’s heart may vary from a single worm to more than a hundred. In small numbers the presence of the worms may have little effect, but as the number of worms increases, so does the mechanical effect on the heart. Gradually the heart becomes less efficient until the dog begins to show the symptoms of chronic heart failure, namely coughing, low exercise tolerance and fluid accumulation resulting in a swollen abdomen. Severe heartworm infection may result in death.
The heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. The adult worms in the heart of an infected dog produce larval stages called microfilaria which circulate in the blood and are picked up by biting mosquitoes. The microfilaria go through another stage of development in the mosquito and can be transmitted to another dog that is bitten by the infected mosquito. In the newly infected dog the microfilaria go through more stages of development, becoming adult worms in the heart about six or seven months later. The adult worms then repeat the cycle. Heartworm is not considered a human health hazard. Other animals, including cats, have been reported with heartworm infections, but this is extremely rare.
In most cases heartworm can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. In more complex cases, further examination by X-rays, electrocardiograms or additional blood tests may be necessary. Because heartworm produces specific symptoms of chronic heart failure and congestion, the veterinarian who sees a dog with the symptoms of heart disease will consider heartworm as a possible cause and carry out the necessary tests. Dogs that live in heartworm areas should be checked regularly, even if they are not showing signs of heartworm disease, to ensure they are not in the early stages of infection. A single blood test or two tests at a short interval will usually indicate the presence of adult heartworms

Heartworm Treatment

Infected dogs are usually hospitalized for treatment. Drugs are then administers: which kill the adult heartworms. The break-up and dislodgement of worm segments can cause side-effects necessitating urgent veterinary attention. The course of treatment may be dangerous depending on the number of worms.



Heartworm Prevention

  • Control mosquitoes by preventing their access to their still water breedir.J. grounds. Rain water tanks, buckets and stagnant ponds should be coverec. or drained.
  • Administration of heartworm preventative medication. (H.P.M.)
  • Puppies should commence H.P.M. as soon as they commence solids. They can start without a prior blood test.
  • Dogs over six months require a blood test confirming they are negative prior to commencing H.P.M.
  • Dogs entering a heartworm area for holidays etc. should commence H.P.M. 4 weeks before and continue 8 weeks after.
  • H.P.M. can be given as a syrup, tablets or chewables. Scientists are working on a vaccine. Currently, depending on the drug chosen, H.P.M. can be given either daily or monthly. Because heartworm can be so dangerous to your pet it is best to consult with your veterinarian.

Whipworm

Whipworms, 4-7 millimeters long, get their name because the first part of their body is long and slender and the back part is short and thick. In many city dog populations there is an incidence of approximately 15 per cent. Whipworms are particularly common in areas with a heavy concentration of dogs.
The worms have a simple life cycle with no intermediate host. Diarrhea, often associated with abdominal pain and dehydration, may indicate the presence of whipworms. The diarrhea is characteristically dark and foul-smelling. Sometimes there are signs of central nervous excitation. In heavy infections, fresh blood may be seen in the farces and there may be generalized jaundice associated with anaemia. Positive diagnosis is made on finding whipworm eggs in the farces under the microscope.
The most important factor in the control of whipworm is the remarkable longevity of the eggs. They remain viable within a wide temperature range and thus an important source of reinfection for up to five years. This means that even dogs with light whipworm infections held in confined spaces such as kennels or training areas will seed the area with eggs that will be a continual source of reinfection. It may therefore be necessary to treat such dogs every ten weeks for a year or more before the residual source of eggs is exhausted.

Tapeworms

There are many species of tapeworm, but the one most commonly seen by pet owners is the flea tapeworm. The most important tapeworm to avoid in terms of human health is the hydatid.



Hydatils

The occurrence of this tapeworm in dogs is widespread in rural areas in many countries.
The adult hydatid worm lives in the intestine of the dog. The eggs are passed in the dog’s farces Intermediate hosts include a wide range of animals, sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, kangaroos, wallabies, and human beings—but sheep are by far the most important. In some countries, the domestic dog/sheep life cycle ensures the survival and transmission of the parasite. The eggs, when ingested by an intermediate host, pass to the small intestine and hatch to release a small cyst. The cysts penetrate the tissues of the small intestine, enter the blood vessels and are carried to the liver. Some pass through the liver to the lungs and central nervous system.
Human infection occurs only from the accidental ingestion of embryonated eggs of the hydatid tapeworm which are passed by the dog in its farces The worm itself is of little significance to the dog. However, the intermediate or cystic stage is important, firstly in relation to sheep and the economic loss associated with condemnation of hydatidinfected livers at slaughter, and secondly as a cause of hydatid disease in human beings.
The eggs of the hydatid tapeworm can be seen in the farces under the microscope.
To control hydatids all canine infections need to be eradicated. Prevent reinfection of dogs by adequately disposing of infected offal and sheep carcasses. Control strays and free-roaming farm dogs.
The flea tapeworm surveys indicate that up to 65 per cent of dogs in city areas may be affected with the flea tapeworm. Segments of the tapeworm are passed in the farces or may leave the dog spontaneously. They move actively on the dog’s anal area or on the ground and bedding, disseminating egg capsules which are swallowed by the maggot-like flea larva. When the flea larvae mature into adult fleas, dogs become infected by ingesting them while scratching and biting themselves.
The flea tapeworm is of little significance in dogs, except that it causes itchiness around the anal area; to relieve this the dog will scoot (rub its anal area on the ground). Anal itchiness with scooting and rubbing is common.
Segments of the tapeworm are often seen on the surface of the farces They are about 1 centimeter long, flat, pinkish-grey in color and active.
Unless preventive measures are taken dogs will rapidly become reinfected and may passing large numbers of segments in their farces within weeks of treatment. The tapeworm has an indirect life cycle involving fleas and lice as intermediate hosts, and this complicates prevention. Unless fleas are controlled, -_-infection can occur rapidly and repeatedly. Children may become infected ..-py the accidental ingestion of fleas; and the habit of picking fleas from dogs and crushing them between the fingernails is most unhygienic.

Roundworm

Surveys indicate that 40-50 per cent of most dog populations are affected by round worm. Infection may be by one of five routes: Direct infection, when a puppy eats the eggs directly from fecal matter. Within one month adult female worms will be present in the dog’s body although eggs may not be present in the dog’s farces for six to eight weeks. The eggs hatch in the intestine, releasing small larval stages of the roundworm which migrate to the liver within two days. The larval stages also migrate to the lungs and are coughed up and reswallowed into the intestinal tract. During this phase they may go to the uterus of a female dog and, if the bitch is pregnant, infect her unborn puppies.
Intrauterine infection—which occurs when female dogs older than one to three months eat infective eggs and the larval stages become arrested in the bitch’s uterine tissues. If the bitch becomes pregnant, the larval stage is mobilized during the last fourteen days of the pregnancy and migrates through the placenta to the developing fetus, thus initiating an intrauterine roundworm infestation. Infected puppies have larval stages in their lungs when they are born. Eggs of the roundworm can thus appear in the farces of puppies as early as three weeks after birth, and the production of these eggs from the mature female roundworms in the intestinal tract increases up to six months. Not all the dormant larvae in the uterus may be mobilized at the first pregnancy after infection. Some larvae may still be available for fetal infection in subsequent pregnancies.
Roundworms are the most common worm found in a dog. The transmammary infection takes place when roundworm in the larva stages are transmitted through the milk of the bitch. Post parturient infections in bitches—these are caused either by the resumption of the development of dormant roundworm larval stages, or by the ingestion by the bitch of larval stages shed by her prenatally infected pups. During the suckling period the bitch ingests most of her puppies’ feces and any eggs therein have not had time to reach the infective stage; the eggs therefore pass through the bitch and are disseminated in her feces. After period in the environment they reach the infective stage, and then when eaten they complete their life cycle.
Infections through hosts may occur when dogs eat the carcasses of rodents and other animals containing larval stages of the roundworm. The principal symptoms associated with roundworm infection are: coughing, nasal discharge, frequent vomiting (especially after meals), stuntec: growth, intermittent diarrhea, failure to eat, distended and painful stomach, and sometimes convulsions. If the condition is severe, puppies may die within twelve hours to a few days after birth. Postmortem examination of the puppies will confirm the diagnosis. In older animals the diagnosis is made by the fecal flotation test.
The most important aspect of roundworm treatment is to control and limit the effects of prenatal infections in young puppies. Puppies should receive two worming treatments during the first three weeks of life, ideally at two weeks and three weeks. Subsequently, between four and twelve weeks of age, puppies should have fortnightly treatments to ensure complete removal of the infection, because the worming preparations currently available are not completely effective against migrating larval stages.
In addition, puppies less than one or two months old are highly susceptible to direct infestation by roundworm eggs from infected bitches or previously contaminated kennel environments. Puppies may acquire infection from larval stages which are known to be transmitted in the milk of infected bitches. The puppies should be examined at four and eight weeks after birth to ensure freedom from roundworm eggs. It is important to realize that as bitches can become temporarily reinfected in the suckling period and so become a potential source of infection for the puppies, they also should be treated when the pups are three and four weeks old. This treatment of the bitch will not prevent later intrauterine infection. The bitch’s farces should be collected and burnt daily throughout the suckling period.
Eggs of the roundworm may be found on the coats of both bitches and pups, so children should be discouraged from handling the animals during the suckling period—if possible, puppies should be reared in an enclosure until weaning.
The female roundworm produces an enormous number of eggs which unfortunately are highly resistant to the environment and can survive and remain infective for years. The complexity of the roundworm life cycle makes control difficult. The particular susceptibility of young dogs to roundworm means that they are the most important sources of infection for other animals and for human beings. The bitch has an especially important role as a reservoir of infection for successive generations of dogs.



Flea Tape Worm

Surveys indicate that up to 65 per cent of dogs in city areas may be affected with the flea tapeworm. Segments of the tapeworm are passed in the farces or may leave the dog spontaneously. They move actively on the dog’s anal area or on the ground and bedding, disseminating egg capsules which are swallowed by the maggot-like flea larva. When the flea larvae mature into adult fleas, dogs become infected by ingesting them while scratching and biting themselves.
The flea tapeworm is of little significance in dogs, except that it causes itchiness around the anal area; to relieve this the dog will scoot (rub its anal area on the ground). Anal itchiness with scooting and rubbing is common.
Segments of the tapeworm are often seen on the surface of the farces They are about 1 centimeter long, flat, pinkish-grey in color and active.
Unless preventive measures are taken dogs will rapidly become reinfected and may passing large numbers of segments in their farces within weeks of treatment. The tapeworm has an indirect life cycle involving fleas and lice as intermediate hosts, and this complicates prevention. Unless fleas are controlled infection can occur rapidly and repeatedly. Children may become infected puppy the accidental ingestion of fleas; and the habit of picking fleas from dogs and crushing them between the fingernails is most unhygienic.