SIGNS


You see small white squiggly worms in your petís stool. Your cat has something that resembles grains of rice coming from thebum. Your pet may be vomiting or have diarrhea. Your pet is losing weight.

CAUSES

Worms in dogs are very common, with up to one-third of all dogs being infected with intestinal parasites: roundworms, tapeworms, coccidian, and giardia. Iíll go over the most common types of worms and how you can tell if your dog has worms. Iíll then go on to show you how to prevent dog worms and give the best ways to treat them, both with conventional medication and natural solutions.

Roundworms are most common; these worms are one to three inches long, white, and tapered or roundóhence the name roundworm. The veterinary name for roundworms is Toxocara canis. These are what most puppies have when diagnosed with worms. Dogs with roundworms often have a distended belly that appears bloated. In large infestations they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss, although most pet owners diagnose them by seeing a worm in their dogís stool. These are easily transmitted from dog to dog via worm eggs in the stool and on the ground.

Tapeworms are the next most common intestinal parasite of dogs; they are known as Dipylidium canis. Most dogs with tapeworms have few clinical signs, although a heavy infestation can cause intestinal upset and weight loss. These are easy to diagnose by finding segments of the tapeworm in your dogs stoolóthe segments are flat, white, and sometimes described as flat grains of rice. Dogs acquire most tapeworms after ingesting a flea; the tapeworm lifecycle includes maturing in a flea to be able to be transmitted to other dogs. Tapeworms can also be transmitted with other animals, such as your dog ingesting a mouse.

Coccidia are worm like, microscopic intestinal parasites that commonly causes diarrhea in puppies, but can affect older dogs with compromised immune systems. Coccidia are spread from dog to dog via eggs in the stool, contaminating the water and environment. Some dogs can have a small number of coccidia in their intestinal tract, but the organism flourishes if the pup is under stress(such as overcrowded, unsanitary conditions), leading to diarrhea. Coccidia can be diagnosed with a veterinary microscopic fecal flotation, and should be suspected in any puppy with diarrhea that doesnít respond to traditional roundworm treatment.

Giardia is a waterborne intestinal parasite that more commonly affects adult dogs, causing diarrhea; it is also known as ďbeaver fever.Ē Giardia gets into the water via contamination by wild animals (such as beavers) and infected dogs. The giardia cysts multiply in the intestinal tract, leading to the signs of diarrhea with blood or mucous in the stool. It is a very difficult parasite to diagnose in veterinary practice, so many clinicians may just treat your dog for it with a conventional anti-giardia medication.

SOLUTIONS

HYGIENE and COMMON SENSE: Good hygiene and common sense is the best way to prevent your dogs from getting dog worms in the first place. Pick up feces outside on your lawn, and prevent your dog from eating other dogsí feces. Restrict your dog from drinking water in contaminated creeks, or water that is stagnant in small pools. Practice adequate flea control to limit the likelihood of tapeworms, and ensure that your dog has a hygienic, uncrowded environment to decrease the chances of developing coccidia.

CONVENTIONAL OPTIONS: The conventional treatment for dog worms depends upon the type of intestinal parasite your dog has. Roundworms are easy to treat with a common,safe medication called pyrantel palmoate; avoid using any of the older dewormers containing piperazine as they can be very unsafe.

Treatment with pyran (pyrantel) is twodoses, ten to fourteen days apart. As most puppies have roundworms, I suggest having them all dosed with pyran at sixand eight weeks; they may need additional treatments.

Tapeworms respond well to treatment with praziquantel, which may be combined with pyran (drontal); generally only onedose is required.

Coccidia respond best to the sulfa antibiotics, usually sulfadimethoxine (S-125, or Albon); the dose being 250mg per ten poundsonce daily for fourteen to twenty-one days.

Giardia can be treated with two common conventional medications: metronidazole and an older dewormer called fenbendazole. Fenbendazole is also effective against other intestinal parasites and is becoming the treatment of choice for giardia. The fenbendazole dose is 250mg per ten pounds once daily for three to seven days.

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH. This is the most effective and safest holistic de-wormer. It is important to get the DE safe for ingestion. Dose it at 1/2 teaspoon/10lbs twice daily for 21 days to treat most internal parasites. Also works well topically for fleas.

PAPAYA. This was shown to be effective in eliminating roundworms in pigs; it may work for your pet, and at the least it will do no harm.

PUMPKIN SEED. This has been used for tapeworms. If your pet is a great hunter, always getting reinfested with tapeworms, you may want to consider this. The dose is one teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight of the ground seed.

HERBAL:

BLACK WALNUT (Juglans nigra). This is a common antiparasitic used for animals: give onecapsule of the ground herb per twenty pounds of body weight.


HOMEOPATHIC:

CINA. For roundworms, use Cina 30C, one tab every eight hours for twenty-one days.

FILIX MAS. For tapeworms, use Filix Mas 30C, one tab every eight hours for twenty-one days.


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