Intestinal Parasites

Coccidiosis

If Puppies get coccidiosis they will have diarrhea which may have blood in it. Some fallacies about this problem are that it is spread by unclean conditions. This is wrong it is carried from yard to yard by infected birds, droppings, feathers and flies. There is no cure for coccidiosis and puppies must develop a resistance to it. Adults may carry it and never exhibit any symptoms because they have an immunity to this infectious problem. It is quickly spread threw a litter so all puppies should be treated. They are no longer contagious after being on treatment for two days but treatment should be continued for 21 days albon may be used with success start with two doses the first two days 1/4cc per pound per dose and then one dose per day for 19 days remember there is no cure, not even bleach will kill it and flies and birds spread it.

Infection occurs upon ingestion of contaminated feces or food. Upon ingestion, the parasite colonizes the lining of the small intestine and reproduction begins. As reproduction progresses the new coccidia are shed through the feces to the environment. Puppies are most commonly affected. Most infections are not apparent and resolve on their own by self immunization. Occasionally, signs will occur and can be quite severe.

 

Giardia

intestinal parasite that infects many mammals including man. Young puppies are most often affected. Signs usually occur 1-2 weeks after infection and often the disease goes unnoticed or is self limiting after a bout of diarrhea. It can produce severe diarrhea and fluid loss. Most cases that show signs are mild with some depression. The parasite is passed in the feces and is consumed directly by the next host. Giardia is very hardy and can remain in the environment for a number of months waiting for a suitable host. In addition, contaminated water is a frequent source. Diagnosing giardia can be demanding and may require frequent microscopic fecal examinations. Giardia responds very well to treatment. Metronidazole, an oral antibiotic, is the drug of choice given daily for 5 days. However, because of resistance other drugs are being tried and may possibly replace metronidazole.

 

Tapeworm

You can tell if your pet has tapeworms in two ways. The eggs are contained in segments which are passed in the feces of the pet. The segments look like flattened grains of rice and are white to yellow in color. You may find them in the hair around the rectum of your pet. Also a veterinarian can diagnose tapeworms by finding segments or by finding eggs in a stool sample using a microscope. Several examinations may be required as segments and eggs are not passed continuously.

Dog/cat flea tapeworm - the important point concerning this tapeworm is that any pet which has fleas, also has a real possibility of having tapeworms. The tapeworm completes its life cycle in the dog or cat by spending a portion of its life in the flea. Therefore the tapeworm never need to leave the dog's environment to complete it's life cycle.

Tapeworm segments are passed in the pet's feces. The segments rupture releasing egg packets to all areas of the pets environment. At this point the flea larvae eat the tapeworm eggs. The flea larvae later become adults and get back on the dog for a blood meal. When the dog feels the flea moving, it bites the fleas with its teeth and gets the flea into its mouth. As the flea or parts of the flea move through your pet's digestive system, the tapeworm larvae is released and grows to adulthood.

 

Roundworms

Nearly all puppies have roundworms. In many areas of the country, up to 70% of adult dogs are also infected. Your pet usually gets roundworm by accidentally swallowing roundworm eggs found in the soil. These eggs hatch into tiny worms that move from your pet's intestine to its liver and lungs, then back to the intestine where they mature. The adult roundworm lays eggs that are passed in your pet's stool to the soil.

Left untreated, roundworms can cause a potbelly and diarrhea. Vomiting, a rough coat and poor growth are other signs. Heavy infections damage your dog's liver, lungs and brain. Death is possible.

 

Hookworm

Hookworms are tiny threadlike parasites that affect puppies and adult dogs. They are a particular problem in areas with warm, moist sandy soil.

Dogs get hookworms by either swallowing young hook-worms or hookworms can penetrate your dogs skin. Usually through the foot. Hookworms present a slight risk to humans if larvae (young hookworms) in the soil contact skin. Painful skin sores can result.

Hookworms feed on blood and tissue by piecing your dog's intestinal lining with tooth-like hooks. As a result, hookworms can cause severe blood loss. As few as 100 hookworms can kill a puppy. Dogs with heavy infections often have bloody diarrhea. Other signs include anemia, dehydration and apparent weakness. However, some puppies show no signs of infection.

 

Whipworms

Dog's confined in small, outside areas are at highest risk at having whipworms.

Whipworm infection occurs when your dog swallows whipworm eggs. After hatching in the small intestine, whipworm larvae move to the large intestine where they mature. Adult worms lay eggs which are passed in your dog's stool to contaminate the soil .

Light infections of whipworms are difficult to diagnose, but they can lead to more serious problems. Large numbers of whipworms irritate the lining of your dog's intestine causing weight loss and pain. Watery and bloody stools may result. Severe infections can cause life threatening dehydration and 'anemia. Whipworms are not dangerous to people, but once dogs become infected, whipworms are difficult to eliminate without medication programs.

 

How to prevent parasites

Provide your veterinarian with a stool sample at least once every 6 months to a year. Take puppies to your veterinarian at an early age. Follow your veterinarian advise on medicine .and follow up visits. Ask us about products that help prevent parasites. Don't feed your pet on the ground. Use only clean food and water dishes. Clean up your dogs stools before they can break down in the soil. Wash hands before eating. (Especially important for children) Prevent pets from eating prey if possible. (Never feed your animal uncooked meat)

James B. Krewatch. VM.D.

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