Tapeworm

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Dog tapeworm

Tapeworm is a dangerous parasite dog owners should be aware of and be taking preventative measures against. The canine tapeworm, genus Echinococcus, infects the small intestine and treatment is necessary to stop the growth of the parasite and spread to those susceptible, especially children. Cestodiasis is the medical term for a tapeworm infection.


DESCRIPTION – How do I identify if my dog has a tapeworm infection?

An infection and growth of the tapeworm results in segments breaking off and passing through the dog’s digestive system, which may be visible to the owner in stool or under the tail fur. Some species have smaller segments and are more difficult to see with the naked eye while others are easily spotted. The parasite will irritate the dog’s system and licking or biting at the area may give an owner a clue to the infection. Other dogs will scoot, running their bottoms along the ground in an attempt to scratch the itch. The segments may also travel into the dog’s stomach and cause vomiting, where they may be visible.


LIFECYCLE – How does a tapeworm develop and mature?

Tape worm eggs are released into the environment in an infected dog’s feces. A flea larvae will then ingest the egg and continue to mature. The tapeworm grows on a microscopic scale at this stage in its lifecycle. A dog may then ingest the now adult flea as part of its grooming or irritation from a flea bite.

Treatment – Ok, my dog has tapeworm. What now?

Tapeworms are best treated through an administration of praziquantel by your veterinarian. This drug is not contained in a regular heartworm medication, as many dog owners incorrectly assume. Praziquantel is a very safe drug when properly administered. It works by killing and dissolving the worms, which may mean the owner will not observe additional segments in the dog’s stool, though the drug is effective.

Risks – Can I or my family be infected with tapeworm?

Generally, no, but rare cases of infection have been reported in children. The best steps to take are rigorous attention to flea control, which transmit tapeworm and other parasites. Keep dogs out of the trash and sanitize the general area your pets and family live and play. Also, general hand washing and removal of pet waste will control the contraction and spread of tapeworm.



Notes

Tapeworm is a troublesome parasite which is spread through dog waste. It’s a danger to dogs and children and owners should keep a regular cleaning and pet waste removal schedule to reduce risk of infection. Sign up for Pet Domestic services and have an extra hand in the fight against this parasite.

Roundworm

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Roundworm: How it Effects Your Dog

One of the last things any dog owner wants to deal with is finding out their dog has worms. While it may not be pleasant for you or your dog, it is a fact of life for almost every dog at one point or another.

If you think your dog may have roundworm, then here is a quick rundown on just about everything you need to know.


What are common signs and symptoms of roundworm?

Most often you will find out your dog has worms when picking up his or her waste as worms are almost always found in the animals stool. You may also notice them in your dog’s vomit. The worms can be white or light brown in color and can be an inch to several inches long (and has been compared to the look of spaghetti).

If you do not notice worms in your dog’s stool or vomit it is still possible that your dog is infected. Other common symptoms of roundworm include pot-belly (looking bloating all the time), diarrhea, vomiting (again, check for worms!), dull coat and weight loss.

If your dog or puppy is experiencing any of these symptoms you should take them to the vet. From there your vet will test a sample of your pets stool to confirm a diagnosis of roundworm.


 How did my dog get Roundworm?

There are many different ways your dog could have been infected with roundworms. Puppies are the most likely victims to roundworms as they can be passed on from the mother at birth or when they drink her milk if the mother is infected.

Puppies and dogs can also become infected from eating small mammals that are infected (mice, rats, squirrels, etc.) – and yes it’s gross, but they can become infected if they eat the feces of an infected animal.


What is the Treatment for Roundworm?

Roundworm is treated with vet prescribed medications such as fenbendazole, milbemycin, moxidectin and a couple of others. These medications are administered in one to three doses (either one strong dose or three smaller doses over a couple of days).

A couple of weeks later your dog will be treated again. The first treatment will kill off any adult worms and larva – the second treatment is a follow-up to ensure that any unhatched eggs are killed. Roundworms can lay up to 85,000 eggs per day so the follow up dose is absolutely necessary or your dog can become re-infected.

For puppies it is suggested that you get them dewormed for the first time between 2-3 weeks of age. From there they should be dewormed at least 3 more times over the course of their first year of life.

Once a dog is one year old they should be tested for worms one to two times a year depending on preventative measures being taken.


Can Roundworm be prevented?

There are a few different things you can do to prevent roundworm. To prevent roundworm in puppies you should ensure that the mother is worm free and on a preventative during pregnancy. Then get your pups dewormed right away at 2-3 weeks of age.

From there you can talk to your vet about the right age to start them on a preventative. There are many heartworm preventatives that also cover roundworm (some even cover hookworms and whipworms as well). You vet will be able to recommend a trusted medication for your dog.

Aside from medication you can also help keep your dog roundworm free by keeping them leashed and/or in a fenced yard – this will help keep their interaction with small mammals down to a minimum, which lessens the chance of contracting worms that way.

You can also help keep your dog from being infected with roundworms by being sure to keep your yard free of waste. This will significantly lower the chance of your dog becoming infected, even if a friend or relative brings over an infected dog.

While almost every dog is going to become infected with roundworm at some point in his or her life, there is no reason that you should not be taking preventative measures. Keeping your yard clean of your dogs (and other animals) waste is one of the most important steps you can take to preventing roundworm infection.

Hookworms

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Hookworms

Our pets can be hosts for a wide range of parasites. Some of these parasites are harmless to humans, but others can cause serious illness if we become infected. Many of these infectious parasites are transmitted via the feces of our pet dogs (or cats), making it important to understand how these parasites live, breed, and especially, the best ways to prevent our pet’s environment from becoming infective and causing a health-risk to us. One such parasite is the dog hookworm which can cause severe intestinal problems.

Hookworms are a group of parasitic, nematode worms. Three species of hookworm can infect dogs and humans. These are Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense and Uncinaria stenocephala.

These parasites are most prevalent in areas of high temperature and humidity, such as the southern United States, where conditions are favorable for them to rapid develop and spread.


APPEARANCE

Hookworms are small, thin worms, about ¼ – ½ inch long. As adults, they attach their mouth parts into the lining of the small intestine of your dog, or other host, and suck blood and other tissue fluids. This can result in severe blood loss (anemia) and subsequently, malnutrition.

parasite_hookworm

An adult hookworm attached to the intestine


LIFECYCLE

In the A. caninum hookworm, eggs are excreted by dogs in their feces.  Typically, if they land on warm moist soil, they will hatch within 24 hrs.  The hatched larvae become infective within 4 to 5 days and then migrate from the feces into the surrounding soil.  There are 2 possible routes of infection from there to infect another host.

The first route involves the larvae penetrating the skin, usually at hair follicles or sweat glands, but especially in dogs at the footpads and belly where soil contact is frequent and the skin is thin.  The larvae then migrate through the skin and enter the circulatory system which transports them to the lungs.  The larvae leave the circulatory system at the lungs, move up through the trachea and are then swallowed by the host to eventually arrive in the small intestine.  When they get there, they use their 6 sharp teeth to attach to the lining of the intestine.  They then begin to feed by sucking the host’s blood.  Females are thought to produce approximately 10,000 eggs per day.  The time from infection to shedding eggs is 2 to 3 weeks.  Some of the larvae making this migration get “trapped” in the tissue where they encyst.  These larvae remain dormant, but periodically emerge and continue their migration.


The second, more common, route to the small intestine is by directly ingesting A. caninum.  In this case, the eggs are swallowed during grooming and ingesting contaminated soil, or eating an infected prey animal such as rodents, birds or invertebrates like cockroaches.  The eggs are moved directly to the small intestine of the host where they hatch, become larvae and develop into adults.  The subsequent life-cycle process is identical in either case.

Puppies can become infected with hookworms by ingesting the larvae in the milk of their infected mother.  Furthermore, puppies can ingest the eggs or larvae from an infected environment, meaning there is a very strong reason for keeping puppies’ environments clean of feces.

A_caninum_head


SYMPTOMS

Dogs with chronic (long-term) hookworms often have no symptoms. If your dog does exhibit symptoms, these may appear as early as 10 days after exposure and could include –

Your dog’s appearance

  • Generally unhealthy/poor growth in puppies
  • Poor appetite
  • Dull coat
  • Pale tissues, especially mucous membranes (most easily seen in the gums, lips, nostrils and tissues around the eyes)
  • Coughing (due to larvae in the lungs)
  • Vomiting
  • Redness/itchiness/bleeding at sites of skin infection

Eliminations

  • Dark and tarry stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Most serious hookworm infestations in puppies occur during the first weeks and are acquired through the mother’s milk. In adult dogs, the most common routes of infection are ingesting larvae and larvae migrating through the skin.



DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS

Hookworm eggs are not visible to the naked eye and diagnosis is usually made by a microscopic examination to find eggs in the feces.  However, because eggs do not appear in the feces for 2 to 3 weeks after infection, there may be an interval during which the feces examination is falsely negative.  In these cases, the diagnosis is usually made on the observation of clinical symptoms.

Canine_hookworm_egg_1

Hookworm egg


TREATMENT

There are a number of worming treatments available that are effective against hookworm. After the initial treatment, this should be repeated in 1 to 2 weeks because the first worming will activate encysted larvae and cause a fresh growth of adult worms to appear in 10 to 12 days.

Many dogs who have become infected with hookworms and recovered, become carriers.  The larvae become encysted in the dog’s tissues. During periods of stress or illness, these larvae can be released causing a new outbreak of bloody diarrhea as worms reappear in the intestine.


PREVENTION

It is very important to pick up and dispose of all dog feces immediately after the dog has passed them. When feces are given the chance to break-down on soil or lawns, this releases the hookworm eggs into the environment. Other ways of preventing the development of an infective environment include –

  • Housing dogs on sand, gravel or concrete: these are easier to disinfect than soil or lawn
  • Bleaching and steam-cleaning environments: these methods can help kill the resilient eggs
  • Regularly replacing the soil or lawn
  • Worming dogs regularly
  • Worming all dogs (animals) on the premises on the same day
  • Weighing before worming so the correct dose of wormer is given
  • Rotating worming medications to avoid hookworm drug resistance
  • Changing wormers if the one you are using does not seem to be working

INFECTION OF HUMANS

Human hookworm infestations were once widespread in the United States, especially in the South Eastern area, but recent improvements in living conditions have reduced these. The hookworm A. brasiliense causes an itchy disease in humans. This is called “cutaneous larvae migrans”, meaning “creeping eruption”. Infection can occur when the larvae in the soil penetrate the skin (e.g. when walking barefoot on sand and soil), causing lumps and streaks beneath the skin.  Humans can also become infected with hookworms from eating unwashed vegetables which harbour contaminated soil.

Giardia

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Giardia

Our pets can be hosts for a wide range of parasites. Some of these parasites are harmless to humans, but others can cause serious illness if we become infected. Many of these infectious parasites are transmitted via the feces of our pet dogs (or cats), making it important to understand how these parasites live, breed, and especially, the best ways to prevent our pet’s environment from becoming infective and causing a health-risk to us. One such parasite is Giardia, which can cause severe intestinal problemsOur pets can be hosts for a wide range of parasites. Some of these parasites are harmless to humans, but others can cause serious illness if we become infected. Many of these infectious parasites are transmitted via the feces of our pet dogs (or cats), making it important to understand how these parasites live, breed, and especially, the best ways to prevent our pet’s environment from becoming infective and causing a health-risk to us. One such parasite is Giardia, which can cause severe intestinal problems.


DESCRIPTION

Giardia is not a worm, bacteria or virus. Rather, it is a single-celled parasite, a protozoan that in its adult form, lives in your dog’s intestine. It infects adult dogs but more frequently infects puppies. It is the most common internal parasite found in dogs. Dogs become infected when they swallow Giardia present in water or other substances that have been soiled with contaminated feces. It is unclear whether the protozoans are a single species or several species, each with a specific host. However, it is clear that Giardia is an opportunistic parasite of dogs which can infect several other species of animals, including humans. Infection with Giardia is called ‘giardiasis.’

parasite_giardia

Giardia_cyst

LIFECYCLE

Unfortunately, there is much about the life cycle of Giardia that we do not know.


Giardia is unlike many other dog parasites in that the time between ingesting the parasite and the beginning of the disease is very short (5 to 14 days).  The lifecycle begins with an infected dog shedding inactive (dormant) cysts into the environment in their feces.  It is important to realise that these cysts can remain viable for several weeks or months in cold, wet environments.  This means that areas littered with feces should be avoided and piles should be removed from the environment as soon as possible.  Although the cysts are expelled in the feces, once these are deposited, the cysts often contaminate water sources which are the most common route of infection.

Once ingested by your dog, the cysts are moved to the intestine, open, become activated and develop into the mobile form, known as the “trophozoite”.  This is a pear-shaped organism with a long hair-like flagellum (tail) that whips back and forth, propelling the trophozoite about within the intestines. If your dog is healthy, trophozoites can live in the lower digestive tract for several years.  They attach to the intestinal wall and reproduce by dividing in two. After a number of divisions, some of these develop a wall around itself, thereby becoming the cysts which are passed out in the feces. The Giardia in the feces easily contaminate the environment, very commonly the water, thereby providing a route of transmission to infect other animals and people.


PREVALENCE

Giardia is found throughout the world and can be highly prevalent in dog environments.  Up to 50% of young puppies will develop this infection.  Households with multiple dogs are particularly at risk, and up to 100% of dogs housed in kennels will develop the disease due to closely shared living spaces and the repeated exposure to the cysts.


SYMPTOMS

Many healthy adult dogs infected with Giardia do not get any disease, however, young puppies or adults with a compromised immune system can become very ill and death can occur if not treated. Symptoms are usually easier to detect in younger dogs than in older dogs.   The symptoms may be sudden, temporary, non-continuous, or ongoing.  The disease caused by Giardia infection is called Giardiasis, although it is sometimes known as Beaver Fever because beavers are known carriers of Giardia.  The disease may result in the following symptoms –

A giardia trophozoite

Eliminations

  • Watery diarrhea which may contain mucus, be tinged green and frothy
  • Feces that are soft, light-colored, greasy and may contain blood
  • Feces have an extremely repugnant odor
  • Vomiting is a rare symptom, but can happen in dogs with severe bowel inflammation

Appearance of the dog

  • Weight loss
  • Poor condition
  • Dehydration
  • Poor coat quality

DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS

The organism is primarily detected in the feces. A fecal smear or fecal flotation test is normally sufficient to test for their presence.  Diagnosis requires microscopic inspection of feces to determine the identity of the protozoan. Similar examination of soft feces may reveal the presence of active trophozoites, and cysts may be found in firm feces. The number of cysts varies on a daily basis so detection will require collecting and examining samples over 3 to 4 days.

Approximately 5% to 10% of dogs either have Giardia infection (symptomatic) or have it but do not show any clinical signs (asymptomatic).


TREATMENT

There are several medical treatments available.  Washing your dog and their bedding is also recommended to remove cysts and prevent the likelihood of repeat infection.


PREVENTION

It is very important to pick up and dispose of all dog feces immediately after the dog has passed them. When feces are given the chance to break-down on soil or lawns, they release the Giardia cysts into the environment. Other ways of preventing the development of an infective environment include –

  • Housing dogs on sand, gravel or concrete: these are easier to disinfect than soil or lawn
  • Bleaching and steam-cleaning environments can help kill the resilient cysts
  • Regularly replacing the soil or lawn
  • Weighing before medications so the correct dose is given
  • Rotating medications to avoid drug resistance
  • Changing medication if the one you are using does not seem to be working

INFECTION OF HUMANS

Giardia is a common cause of diarrhea in people.  Because Giardia crosses species and can infect people, it is important to have good sanitation when caring for dogs. Kennel workers and pet owners should wash their hands after cleaning dog runs or removing feces from yards.  Babies and toddlers should be kept away from dogs that have diarrhea. When traveling with your dog, prevent them from drinking potentially infected water (e.g. streams, swamps and ponds).

Coccidia

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DOG Coccidia (Toxoplasma gondii)

Parasites and bacteria are an unfortunate possible hazard of dog ownership. One such parasite is coccidia, which can cause the disease known as coccidiosis. While dangerous to canines, coccidia does not present a risk to infect humans. See this guide for information on detecting, treating and preventing coccidia infection.


DESCRIPTION

Coccidia is a small, unicellular organism which lives in the digestive systems of dogs, most commonly found in puppies less than six months in age.

A dog can develop and grow while infected with coccidia and can become tolerant to the symptoms of the disease. However some dogs with compromised immune systems or young puppies can be more susceptible to the infection.

parasite_coccidia

LIFECYCLE

Unsporulated cysts are shed in dog waste. After two to four days the cysts mature and become infective. The oocysts, or eggs, are ingested by the dog or puppy where it enters the digestive tract. Sporozoites penetrate the gut wall and begin reproducing and filling the tract with thousands of new offspring, some of which are shed in the dog’s waste.


SYMPTOMS

Mild cases of coccidiosis may go undetected, but moderate or severe infections will result in diarrhea. The loose stool may contain mucous and blood in advanced cases. A fecal exam for coccidia cysts will confirm infection.


Eliminations

  • Slimy waste: usually containing mucus
  • Watery diarrhea: containing mucus
  • Feces may be blood stained or have marks of blood
  • Vomiting: in advanced infection, vomiting may be present
  • Dehydration
  • Flatulence: frequently expelling gas

Appearance

  • Bloating: swelling of the abdomen
  • Rectal prolapse: dogs that are frequently straining can prolapse the lining of the rectum through the anus

Stress may also cause a flare up of Coccidia infection. Bringing a dog into a new or strange environment has been shown to trigger further symptoms of the disease.


DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS

Dog Coccidia infection is usually diagnosed using a test called centrifugal fecal flotation. Sometimes, coccidia infection may be found during a routine fecal infection, which is a good reason to stay current to your vet’s recommendations.

TREATMENT

A veterinarian will prescribe Sulfadimethoxine, brand name Albon, for dogs infected with coccidia. It’s important to keep your dog well hydrated and rested while fighting their infection. Steam cleaning surfaces, treatment of nearby animals, and use of ammonia-containing disinfectants can reduce chances of infection.

PREVENTION

Regular pet waste removal is a crucial step to preventing coccidia infection. Fresh dog waste contains inactive coccidia cysts and prompt remove does not allow enough time for the eggs to develop.



Notes

Because coccidia is spread by pet waste, it’s important to keep a strict cleaning regimen. Dog houses and runs must be regularly monitored and cleaned with disinfecting agents. Insects and rodents may transmit eggs as well, so their control is important to keeping your dog’s healthy as well. Using Pet Domestic pet waste removal service can be one step to help keep your lawn safer and healthier for your pups.

Whipworm

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Dog Whipworm

Our pets can be hosts for a wide range of parasites. Some of these parasites are harmless to humans, but others can cause serious illness if we become infected. Many of these infectious parasites are transmitted via the feces of our pet dogs (or cats), making it important to understand how these parasites live, breed, and especially, the best ways to prevent our pet’s environment from becoming infective and causing a health-risk to us. One such parasite is the dog whipworm which can cause severe intestinal problems.

Whipworms are a group of several species of parasitic, nematode worms. The species of whipworm that infects dogs, occasionally cats and rarely, humans, is known as the dog whipworm (Trichuris vulpis).


DESCRIPTION

As the name suggests, in the adult form, this parasitic worm has a whip-like shape.  It has a small, narrow head at the front, which is the part of the worm that eats and digests material.  The tail part, which is much larger and thicker (the ‘handle of a whip’), is the reproductive part of the worm. Their length ranges from 30 to 50 mm, making it one of the smaller parasitic worms.

Eggs from the whipworm are oval in shape with obvious plugs (caps) on the top and bottom.  The eggs have a thick outer shell and range in size from 72 to 90 μm in length and 32 to 40 μm in width.


LIFECYCLE

Adult whipworms live in the large intestines of dogs. They lay many eggs into the large intestine which are released to the external environment via the feces. These eggs form embryos after about 2 to 4 weeks in the soil; they are then infective if ingested by a new host. The embryo continues to develop within the egg to become an infective larva. After the new host has eaten the infective eggs, these move to the gastro-intestinal (GI) system of the new host.

Once in the GI system, the eggs hatch, usually in the small intestine.  They penetrate the mucous membrane layer and then develop for a further 2 to 10 days before moving to the large intestine.

Once in the large intestine, the larvae continue to develop and grow while burrowing into the surface of the tissue lining the colon and caecum.  Although the worms invade intestinal cells in many places, they only develop to become mature adults in the colon or caecum.

whipworm

Adult Whipworm

Once they become an adult, their tail end greatly enlarges.  The worms then push through the walls of the large intestine such that the head remains embedded in the large intestine walls, but the tail dangles into the lumen (space) of the colon. Adult whipworms live inside the cecum, colon and rectum before they lay eggs to be released in feces about 10 weeks after infection.  The eggs are laid intermittently.

Once the eggs are in the external environment, they are highly resistant to extremes of sunlight and temperature and may remain infective for many years.


DISTRIBUTION AND EPIDEMIOLOGY

Vulpis infects canines throughout the world. Older dogs normally have a higher level of infection than younger dogs. The eggs of T. vulpis are prevalent in shady, moist soil areas that have been contaminated by canine feces. In the United States, it has been reported that 14.3% of shelter dogs are infected with this parasite.


SYMPTOMS

Low burdens of dog whipworms often produce no symptoms in the host dog – owners may be completely unaware that their dog even has the parasite. In these cases, the whipworms may remain undiagnosed or the eggs might be discovered during a routine fecal flotation examination. However, in large numbers, canine whipworms can produce severe disease symptoms including –

Whipworm_egg_crop

Whipworm egg


Your dog’s behaviour

  • Frequent defecation: the dog tries to pass feces very often but usually passing little or no faeces
  • Straining to defecate: the dog looks like it is having to push hard to defecate
  • Abdominal pain: the animal may be sensitive to touching the abdomen or stand very tense and still
  • Restlessness: the dog may pace a lot and refuse to settle

Eliminations

  • Slimy feces: jelly-like, often containing mucus
  • Watery diarrhea: often containing mucus
  • Feces are blood stained or blood tinged: the blood is usually red and fresh
  • Vomiting: a rare symptom, but can happen in dogs with severe large bowel inflammation
  • Dehydration
  • Flatulence: frequently expelling gas

Appearance of your dog

  • Anemia (low numbers of blood cells): this can be seen as very pale gums
  • Bloating: swelling of the abdomen
  • Rectal prolapse: dogs that are frequently straining can prolapse the lining of the rectum through the anus

On rare occasions, a potentially life-threatening imbalance of the potassium and sodium salts in the body, termed “Pseudo-Addisons disease” can develop.


DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS

Dog whipworm infection is usually diagnosed using a test called fecal flotation. Because whipworm females shed their eggs into the environment intermittently, repeated fecal floats may be needed for a completely positive or negative diagnosis.

Sometimes, whipworm infection will be diagnosed while the vet is performing a colonoscopy on the canine patient for another disease.  A colonoscopy is the insertion of a small video camera into the GI tract – the worms can be seen dangling from the walls of the large intestinal tract.


TREATMENT

In circumstances where many dog whipworm eggs have contaminated the pet’s environment, the owner will need to repeat-worm their dog (or cat) every 2 to 3 months to control the adult whipworm numbers.  Unfortunately, eggs have been known to survive for 7 years, so treatment might be a long-term prospect.  Clearly, prevention is better than treatment.


PREVENTION

It is very important to pick up and dispose of all dog feces immediately after the dog has passed them. When feces are given the chance to break-down on soil or lawns, they release the whipworm eggs into the environment. Other ways of preventing the development of an infective environment include –

  • Housing dogs on sand, gravel or concrete: these are easier to disinfect than soil or lawn
  • Bleaching and steam-cleaning environments: these methods can help kill the resilient eggs
  • Regularly replacing the soil or lawn, e.g. every 3 to 6 months
  • Worming dogs regularly
  • Worming all dogs (animals) on the premises on the same day
  • Weighing before worming so the correct dose of wormer is given
  • Rotating worming medications to avoid whipworm drug resistance
  • Changing wormers if the one you are using does not seem to be working

INFECTION OF HUMANS

Although dog whipworm is generally considered to be of relatively low importance to human health, it IS infective to people.  Both dog whipworms (Trichuris vulpis) and pig whipworms (Trichuris suis) have been discovered in the GI tracts of humans.  These infections produce severe signs of intestinal disease and diarrhoea.  For dog whipworm, the route of transmission to humans is via the feces of the dog (or cat).  This means it is extremely important to keep you and your dog’s environment free of feces and for you to maintain high levels of hygiene.  This will prevent your pet’s environment from becoming infective and lower the risk of you or your family becoming infected.

sad dog

Does your dog have a parasite?

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Intestinal parasites are a potential problem for all dogs, and owners must be diligent in monitoring for symptoms. The most common parasites are hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, and the protozoa Giardia. These are generally passed through eating dog feces. Keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs of infection and treat your dog immediately.

Here are the 9 most-common symptoms of parasites in dogs:

1. Diarrhea

Diarrahea and soft stool in dogs and canine diarrhea can be the result of parasites and worms. In addition to diarrhea, dogs with hookworms may have bloody stool. The parasite protozoa giardia grows and multiplies in the dog’s small intestine, causing severe diarrhea. Dehydration is a major health concern for dogs suffering from diarrhea, so keep an especially close eye on this symptom of parasites.

2. Vomiting

A dog vomiting is not always a clear symptom, but one to keep in mind. Look for roundworm in your dog’s vomit. Puppies are especially vulnerable to infection and can be weakened or even die from parasitic bodies. Vomiting is generally present in a heavy hookworm infection.

3. Low Energy

Dogs with lower than normal energy level may indicate an infection. Is your once playful puppy slowing down and needing more naps? She may have been passed a parasite from her mother. Puppies are also more prone to eating feces and infecting themselves.

4. Coughing

A number of parasites migrate from the intestinal track into the lungs and can cause a light cough in dogs. This can be mistaken for kennel cough, which is not caused by a parasite. Hookworm has a complicated lifecycle which involves larva hatching in the lungs, being coughed up, and being re-swallowed by a dog where they burrow and grow. The cough will be present at this time.

5. Pot-belly appearance

Is your puppy slow to grow and demonstrating a pot-bellied appearance? These are typical symptoms of canines that were born in unsanitary conditions and were infected from birth.

6. Change in appetite

Many dogs with a parasite infection may not show many outward signs, but change in appetite is another one to observe. Some pups can run a fever as well.

7. Weight-loss

Especially in puppies, weight loss is a problematic symptom in dogs with infections, especially giardia. Weigh your dog often and note any changes for your veterinarian.

8. Dull coat

Is your dog’s once once-lustrous coat now taking on a dull appearance? This could be an early sign of an intestinal parasite.

9. Worms in dog fur or dog poop

Often the most obvious way to diagnose a parasitic worm infection is to bring your veterinarian a visible worm collected from your dog’s stool. Your vet will examine and test the sample for the visible worms and for any invisible infections as well, like giardia. A good vet will use a number of testing methods to get a clear picture of all infectons and advise an appropriate treatment.

What should I do?

Is your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms of parasitic worm or other infection? Immediately call your trusted veterinarian and take action. Some infections, especially hookworms can cause permanent damage to a dog’s intestinal lining. Others like tapeworm may be more benign, but may make your dog lose energy and less playful.

What will my veterinarian do?

Typically a veterinarian will run a fresh, direct smear test to look for giardia and other protozoa living in high numbers. Unfortunately this test is poor at detecting worms. A fecal floatation test suspends a stool sample in solution and then tested. These simple tests are easy and affordable, generally in the $20-30 range.

If a parasite is detected, the vet will typically administer a course of Pyrantel Pamoate (brandname Strongid, Nemex) to clear the infection. Afterward a monthly preventative with brand names Hartgard or Sentinel should keep your dog healthy and parasite-free.

How did my dog get a parasite like hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, giardia?

The great majority of dogs are believed to contract hookworm by eating the larva hatched on the ground. Dog waste can contain millions of eggs or small larva and can live several days in a cool, moist conditions. That’s why it’s imperative to collect and remove dog waste on a regular basis.

A female hookworm will pass hundreds of eggs in the stool of their canine hosts, where they will remain alive for several weeks. A dog can potentially simply step in waste, and later, when grooming their feet, accidentally ingest the active parasite egg. The larvae may also directly burrow through the skin and migrate to the intestine where it continues its lifecycle.

What else can I do to prevent parasite infection?

Keep your lawn clear of clutter and lawn mowed short. Worms and creatures grow freely in lawn grass and under leaves. A well-tended lawn and sunshine is all that’s needed to kill most giardia and hookworm eggs that have a thin shell. Remember, if your yard is unfenced a neighbor or stray animal can leave droppings on your lawn and spread infection too.

Do you want a safer and cleaner lawn for your dogs and family? Sign up with Pet Domestic pet waste removal and get more peace of mind.

 

 

ASPCA. Coprophagia (Eating Feces). 2015. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/coprophagia-eating-feces

VCA Hospitals. 2015. https://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/hookworm-infection-in-dogs/785

sick dog heartworm

Heartworm Danger: 6 Signs of the Deadly Parasite

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Heartworm is a dangerous parasite affecting dogs throughout the world, and dog owners should be aware of the symptoms and courses of treatment. The parasite manifests itself over the the course of several weeks or even months from egg to larvae to adult infestation in the heart and lungs. There are many symptoms that become increasingly apparent over time, but initial infection can often be invisible for weeks or months. Proper preventative steps should be followed by all pet owners. Symptoms of heartworm infection though are important to know, and are as follows:

Heartworm Symptoms

Heartworm is a common illness for dogs, especially puppies, so keep these symptoms in mind to prevent major health issues:

1. Diarrhea or Loose Stools

This can be symptomatic of heartworm or any canine parasite.

2. Cough

Dogs suffering from heartworm infection may develop a cough.

3. Pot-bellied appearance

If you notice your puppy or adult dog develop a larger belly, she may be infected.

4. Lethargic behavior

Is your active and energetic pup slowing down lately and taking more naps? It could be a heartworm.

5. Appetite Change

Any big change in appetite in your doggie may be a cause for concern. Just like with other parasites, the heartworm will consume some of your dog’s nutrients and cause a drop or increase in your dog’s appetite.

6. Worms in dog poop

This symptoms is the most obvious of all: Do you see worms in the dog waste? Your dog has an infection and must be treated immediately.

heartworm dog

Heartworm Treatment

Ok, so your dog has heartworm. No one likes to hear their dog has an illness, but fortunately this disease is very treatable if caught early. Always follow your veterinarians recommendations. At the moment, the only FDA-approved drug is ismelarsomine which is administered through injection. This will kill the worms over the course of the next one to three months, and your dog’s body will naturally pass the parasites.

Slow it Down

In this time, your veterinarian will recommend restricting exercise to allow the heart and lungs to heal properly. Following an exercise restrict may be difficult for active dogs and puppies, but further damage is possible with ignoring this direction.

Prevention First

Heartworm can generally be prevented through the use of a number of veterinary medicines.  Ivermectin, sold as Heartgard and Iverhart are popular preventative medicines for heartworm. Ivermectin is also effective against other parasites lice, mites, and bed bugs. Moxidectin is another effective preventative medicine and is sold as Proheart 6 or 12. Your veterinarian will typically recommend a preventative medicine for your dog if you reside in a warm mosquito-laden area with a high temperature when the insects are active.

Healthy and Happy

Following these steps and keeping in mind the symptoms along with regular check ups with your veterinarian will keep your dog healthy and heartworm-free. Remember puppies are especially susceptible and can be passed parasites from their mother, so take extra caution if you have a newborn.

Why Hire a Pet Waste Removal Company?

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“Why would someone hire a pooper scooper?”

“Do people really need a pet waste removal service?”

“Why would I pay someone to pick up dog poop, when I can do it myself?”

Sometimes we’re challenged with these type questions, and we welcome the dialogue, because in fact, many folks do need us. Our long-term and loyal customers hire Pet Domestic for all kinds of great reasons:

  • Work long hours and are unable to clean at nighttime
  • Business requirement for dog boarders with up to 20-30 dogs
  • Disabled and need a hand with a tough manual chore
  • Property includes steep inclines and may be difficult to walk
  • Frequently entertain and want their space ready for guests
  • Own investment property and need to maintain neighborhood value
  • Commercial property (HOA, apartments, townhome community) has common spaces which owners want clean and stocked with bags

Do any of these sound like you? Still not convinced?

Many of our customers could, and did, pick up after their dog for years, but are eager to reclaim more of their free time. What sounds better to you after a long day: scooping up dog poop or relaxing, knowing your yard is clean for your kids and dogs?

We like to think Pet Domestic isn’t in the pet waste removal industry. Rather, we’re in the relaxation business. We provide peace of mind along with a “checked-off the to-do list” sense of satisfaction.

Our rates are especially reasonable when you think of all the benefits. Do you sometimes decline having friends or family over due to a problem lawn? Does the thought of all the cleaning necessary before your guests arrive make you cringe?

We’ve got you covered! Pet Domestic comes on the same day each week, so you know when your cleaning will happen. You come home to a bright white tag on the door knob on your service day, so you know your yard is clean and ready to go!

Do you remember that time you caught your kids in the yard cleaning up after the dog, then doing all their chores and getting in bed by 8pm? HA! That’s not reality.

Well we specialize in real life, and offer a simple solution to the problem of “Whose turn is it to clean up after the dog?” Let’s face it, dogs are so lovable, but they are messy! Pet Domestic gives you the best of both worlds, with all the dog and none of the mess.

You may just find you didn’t know how much you disliked the chore once you hire us.  We’re a no-contract, 100% guaranteed service. Why not try out our services for a month?

Sign up today for less time cleaning, more time relaxing! Free instant quotes for your specific yard.

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