Did you know that your dog may have intestinal parasites even though no evidence is seen on its fecal matter? Parasitic worms, just like external parasites (fleas and ticks) are most common in dogs especially in puppies. A dog that is infested with worms would need immediate treatment as the parasitic infestation can lead to illnesses that can endanger the life of the pet. Moreover, because pet dogs are considered as members of the family, they are allowed to stay inside the house, they share the sleeping quarters of the family, they are constantly petted and cuddled. As such, it is highly probable that the infestation can be transmitted to the family most especially to the children and cause skin and internal liver infections.
The most common intestinal parasites are tapeworm, roundworm, whipworm and hookworm. Heartworms are found in the heart and in the heart’s blood vessels going to the lungs. Aside from tapeworms and roundworms that can be visually diagnosed, the other parasitic infestation can only be diagnosed through fecal examination. The dog’s feces will be examined through a microscope to determine the presence of parasitic worms. A blood test is necessary to detect heartworm infestation.
Minor worm infestation will not pose a threat to the health of the dogs as although dogs have different levels of immunity all of these animals have a natural resistance to worms. An overwhelming presence of worms however would greatly affect the health of the dog. The nutrients needed by the dog will be absorbed by the worms. The tissues and the red blood cells will be destroyed causing anemia. The dog would have diarrhea and the healthy gleam of the coat will be lost.
Over the counter worming medications are widely available and deworming would not cause great discomfort to the dogs. However, misuse of the medications can be wasteful apart from being harmful to the pet. An inappropriate treatment can make the parasite develop a resistance to the medication. It would be best to bring a sample of the dog’s feces to a vet for examination. The vet then would prescribe the proper medication for the type of worm the dog has. Deworming medications can be in pill, liquid or injectable form. These products can be bought even without prescription. If you have decided to deworm your dog it would be best to get broad spectrum anthelmintics as these drugs can act against a variety of intestinal parasites. The frequency of deworming would depend on the worm infestation. Generally deworming for adult dogs would be every 3 months. Puppies and younger dogs would need more frequent treatments. Administer a worming medication for puppies at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks old, monthly until it is 6 months old and every three months thereafter.