Parasites and Your Pets – What Should You Do?

02 (1)Parasites! Parasites! Parasites! they are all over the place. A parasite is an organism that inhabits or interacts with another organism, doesn’t help the host and most times causes harm.

In veterinary medicine and ultimately in our homes parasites cause significant problems to animal and human health alike. There are parasites on the outside of cats and dogs that can affect both us and them, most commonly, FLEAS!!!

Not far behind, but possibly more dangerous to our pet’s health and ours, are TICKS! Ticks spread life threatening diseases to animals and humans alike. One of the most common tick diseases on Long Island is Lyme disease, which causes arthritis-like symptoms and fever most times.

Fleas bite our animals and us and cause anemia or low red blood cells. Little do people realize that the “BLACK PLAGUE” was spread by fleas. EEEWWW!!

Internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms and whipworms to name a few sometimes can affect people and animals in almost the same way, causing vomiting and diarrhea, upset stomach, or worms coming out of the mouth or the rear.

Sometimes parasites in animals and humans also can cause severe diseases and even death. Young children and seniors are more prone to contracting parasites, due to their compromised immune system. Heartworm disease spread by mosquitoes can severely injure or even cause the death of both cats and dogs!

How To Protect Against Parasites?

Each one of the major parasites that we discussed above such as heartworm, fleas ticks and internal worms can be either prevented and or controlled with proper veterinary preventative intervention. Cats and dogs alike get all the above parasites!

Indoor cats get parasites… heartworm in cats is really causing sickness in our indoor-only cats.

Deworming kittens and puppies with proper veterinary products is most important. Continual parasite control for cats and dogs year round can prevent extreme pain and discomfort in animal and humans alike.

Products such as Sentinel, Heartgard, Frontline, Advantix, Vectra 3D, all have a place in the prevention and control of parasites. It is the responsibility of the veterinarian and pet owner to test feces once or twice a year and offer the best preventative protocols available to suit the needs of the cats, dogs, their owners and their environment.

Proper preventative protocols established by your veterinarian for you and your pets are most important. Buying products from the veterinarian is almost as important. Having the faith in the doctor to consult on and ensure the products and knowledge are correct is and should always be the reason to buy proper products from your veterinarian.

Remember, any product purchased from an outside source other than your veterinarian, including online pet stores, large chain stores, pet stores, supermarket, etc. has a potential to be counterfeit or ineffective, or worse yet, painful, dangerous or deadly to you and your pet!

Ask your veterinarian about proper preventative medicines at competitive prices to keep your furry four-legged friends and everyone else in the home healthy!

Dr. Jason Heller is a veterinarian with over 17 years of experience working with cats, dogs, small mammals, birds and reptiles. He is the head veterinarian at the Northport Animal Clinic, a leading veterinary practice in Northport, Long Island, offering 24-hour emergency care for your pets.

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Second Chances: Rehabilitation Of Horses For A Career Change

-99d79c577fbd2858Believe it or not, most horses enjoy having a job and have a strong work ethic. Even the ancient sway-backed mare in the pasture has the job of providing stability to her herd through her years of experience and companionship. However, things don’t always go the way we plan for our horses. Accidents happen, mismatched horse and rider combinations and personality conflicts, situations changes, or the horse is simply not physically or emotionally equipped for the job that was chosen for them. Whatever the underlying reason, rehabilitation of horses for a career change can be a viable alternative to returning them to productivity.

Rehabilitating Horses With Career-Ending Injuries
When a horse sustains a career-ending injury, the question for the horse owner becomes what to do with the horse. Sadly many horses are put down because the cost to rehabilitate the horse is so high that it becomes a matter of dollars and cents. This is not always the case, but it does happen. Other times the quality of life for the horse would be so low that it is considered abusive to keep the horse in such a suffering state. For those horses that make it through their initial injuries and are found suitable candidates for rehabilitation, the road can be long and arduous. Ligament injuries can be some of the longest to heal and may take nearly a year before the horse can even begin work again, and then at a much reduced level.

We have now a wide range of healing modalities at our disposal today which greatly increase the chance of successfully rehabilitating these horses for retraining in new careers. No longer are we limited to just a few traditionally accepted alternatives for our horses’ care. Mystery ailments that traditional veterinary medicine didn’t seem to help can often be resolved through these alternative modailities, offering hope to horses that otherwise would have been put to pasture or worse. Most rehabilitation programs now are going to include in their treatment plans a combination of traditional veterinary care, equine bodywork such as massage or TTouch, chiropractic and/or acupuncture, and depending on the nature of the injury may include hydrotherapy using the water treadmill or swimming pool. The advent of this technology has greatly improved both the recovery rate and time of injuries that previously would have ended a horse’s life, let alone its career, and is widely accepted in the veterinary community. Incorporating the use of a pool provides the added benefit of supporting nearly 60% of the horse’s body weight while at the same time allowing greater range of motion than hand walking would allow. The horse is allowed to burn off some steam and slowly begin to utilize the injured limb without causing undo strain and re-injury. The greater range of motion allowed by the support of the water minimizes the development of scar tissue and increases circulation to the damaged tissue, promoting the healing process.

Homeopathy is also becoming a much more accepted and widespread form of therapy in both the training barn and the rehabilitation center. The use of herbal remedies and essential oils has a long and rich history dating back thousands of years. Homeopathic remedies can be used not only to heal wounds, but to aide the emotional recovery of the horse as well. Many herbs are known to have positive benefits on the emotional state of animals and people. For horses on complete stall confinement, depression and anxiety can seriously impede the recovery process. The use of homeopathy gives horse owners a natural alternative to traditional sedatives, tranquilizers and other drugs.

Overcoming Emotional Trauma Using Horse Behavior And Communication
With the recent surge in horse rescue cases throughout the United States, many horse rescue facilities are finding themselves inundated with more horses than they are prepared to handle. Many of these horses have come from abusive situations and have deep emotional scars that limit their adoptability. Some of these rescues are partnering with natural horsemanship trainers to help them identify horses that are well suited in disposition to be adopted out with minimal retraining and those that will need more extensive help. Using the philosophy of natural horsemanship, these professionals study horse behavior and are experts at discovering the motivations behind particular behaviors displayed by these troubled horses. They then develop appropriate training programs that allow the horses to maintain their dignity and learn to interact appropriately with humans.

The Houston Police Department has learned the benefit of incorporating natural horsemanship into their mounted patrol units’ training program. Sergeant Leslie Wills has been a Houston Police Department Mounted Patrol Officer for 13 years. She has been studying Parelli Natural Horsemanship for a number of years now and has extensive experience with dealing with troubled horses that have been donated to their department. She is charged with training both police horses and mounted patrol officers.

“Everyone sees our horses at Houston Police Department Mounted Patrol and thinks they are the bravest and most courageous horses they have ever seen and they all want their horse to be like our horses. The funny part about it is that the horses that are at our barn and are now super brave Police Horses, are their horses, or were their horses at one time. Over ninety-percent of the horses at The Houston Police Department Mounted Patrol were donated to us for one reason or another. Sometimes a child goes off to college and the parents are stuck with a horse and don’t know what to do with the horse, or the person simply has too many horses, or just does not have the time to spend with the horse that they know the horse deserves… Sometimes though I get a call from an owner that is completely frustrated and scared of their horse and are at their wits end of what they are going to do. They have sent their horse to so-called trainers that say they can ‘fix’ the horse, but the problem gets worse… I have dealt with and rehabbed many emotionally damaged horses, but I have to say that Parelli Natural Horsemanship is the true savior. Parelli opened the door for me and made me realize that it was okay to have fun with your horses and not use mechanical means to get them to submit, but use ‘Love, Language and Leadership’ to create a true partnership with our horses.”

Horses are being successfully rehabilitated and retrained for new careers every day. There are so many opportunities for these horses to lead very productive and happy lives as trail mounts, police horses, pasture companions, dressage horses and so much more. The possibilities are endless for those willing to delve a little deeper into a horse’s psyche or look to some of the many healing modalities available to them. Every horse should have a job, but not all jobs fit every horse. Understanding the physical AND emotional capabilities of the horse can help ensure a proper fit for both the horse and the human.

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Starting a Pet Business in SA

1395776485-105-service-businesses-start-today-detailThere is a great deal of opportunity in the pet industry, however, as with many entrepreneurial ventures, it is essential that you obtain the relevant knowledge and expertise before starting out.

Dealing with pets brings with it much joy but of paramount importance for any pet related business is the ethos of responsible pet ownership and care. It is important that you consult with a veterinarian on any important issues to ensure the pets’ wellbeing is always a priority.

Whilst the economic downturn has affected many industries, the pet industry has proven to be remarkably resilient to the global recession. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) the pet industry has seen unprecedented growth in the last ten years in the USA, with spending up by an estimated $2.49 billion in 2011, despite the recession.

In South Africa there is a growing middle class who can afford to own pets and offer them the best care. In July 2011, a staggering 18,384 people attended the World of Dogs and Cats Pet Expo (WODAC) in Johannesburg during the two day show. The Expo had a record 123 exhibitor stalls and exceeded all expectations.

Within the pet industry, pet services would appear to be the fastest growing area both locally and internationally. While pet training, boarding and grooming remain popular and necessary, services such as pet photography, portrait artists, hydrotherapy and even pet spa treatments are offered as more and more owners are splashing out on their beloved pets. Innovative new products are constantly being developed for pets, from bacon scented bubbles to DNA tests that determine the heritage of your “pavement special”.

There are a wide range of pet services and products you could offer the pet-loving public and we will highlight just a few;

Boarding Kennels and/or Cattery

Due to the growing demand for accommodation for pets whilst their owners are away on business or holiday, there has been a steady increase in the number of kennels and catteries available and there are even places that will look after more exotic pets. Taking care of a loved companion animal is a serious business and a huge responsibility, and a number of factors should be considered.

Most animals create noise so you would need to ascertain whether your neighbours would object, whether you comply with your local bylaws and what permissions need to be sought. Your facilities would also need to be secure enough to prevent the escape of an animal and large enough for dogs to have space to run and be exercised.

Animals are also more likely to pick up diseases when in high density, stressful conditions and a lenient intake protocol could result in disaster. It is therefore imperative that you receive proof that all animals admitted for boarding have had the relevant vaccinations, a schedule of which can be provided by your veterinarian or by consulting the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA).

You should also have a signed release form that allows you to take any pets to the vet should the need arise. Simple things, like a sudden change in diet for example, can result in diarrhoea and illness so care must be exercised when considering the dietary requirements of your lodgers.

Cats in particular are prone to stress and need to be kept in a quiet area far away from any barking dogs. There are some establishments that have gone the extra mile and included televisions and music to both soothe and entertain the pets in their temporary care.

Ensuring that your customers receive individual attention, exercise and mental stimulation in addition to a comfortable environment during their stay will result in happy pets, happy owners and return visits.

Pet Sitting

Professional pet sitting has become very popular and whilst there are a number of companies and individuals who offer these services, many are localised so it might be useful to check if there are any operating in your area.

Many owners prefer to have their pets stay at home whilst they are away and would rather have somebody come to their house. Your duties would include feeding the pets and giving them water and may also include walking, grooming, administering medications and even playing with the animals. You could be asked to stay at the property or to visit daily.

Dog Training

In recent times much progress has been made on the psychology of pet behaviour and a number of organisations in South Africa offer accredited behaviourist and training courses. These days it’s not only horses that are “whispered to” and many a nervous kitty and misbehaving pooch have benefitted from seeing a professional who can provide guidance to both them and their owners!

It would be imperative to research which method of training appeals to you and to enrol in the recommended course before you attempt to offer classes or assistance.

Pet Foods

Pet foods makes up the bulk of spending within the pet industry but it requires a great deal of research and expertise and as a result would require a fair amount of capital expenditure and product development before the actual marketing of the product.

Anyone interested in food production would certainly benefit from consulting the Pet Food Industry (PFI) Association which is a non-profit body formed by manufacturers, dedicated to upholding quality standards that ensure the nutritional well-being of household pets.

Bedding and Housing

One only needs to visit your local veterinary store or pet shop to see the great number of different products available for your pets to sleep on or in. From adapted tractor tyres to custom made homes complete with lighting and under-floor heating, sponge cushions to memory foam mattresses and everything in-between, there are always unique new products entering the market and with some innovation and the right market research there are certainly opportunities in this area.

Animal Shelters

Starting a shelter requires much in the way of initial set up and administration, and possibly more good could be done channelling your energy into helping an existing shelter. Running a shelter is both physically and emotionally draining. In most cases it will deplete your financial resources rather than add to them.

Every animal that is admitted needs to be vaccinated, sterilised, treated for parasites and, ideally, micro-chipped. Even at reduced veterinary rates these essentials cost more than the adoption fee the public is willing to pay for a rescue animal and most shelters make a loss on each and every animal they home. Organisations that focus on fundraising for animal charities provide a tremendous boost to existing charities.

Emerging Trends

New moves within the pet industry according to the American Pet Products Association include;

Eco-friendly Pet Products
High-tech Pet Products
Monogrammed Pet Products
Pet-Friendly Hotels
Human Product Manufacturers now offering Pet Products (e.g. Paul Mitchell, Harley Davidson etc.)

Advertising your pet business

There are many pet owners out there just waiting to hear from you and there are number of platforms available to promote your pet related business. SA Pet Pages Magazine is a pet products and services directory that provides an extremely effective way of reaching your target market as it is distributed FREE into the hands of pet owners. Each quarter 55,000 copies are distributed through veterinary clinics throughout Gauteng, KZN and the Eastern & Western Cape.

The old adage goes: “Doing business without advertising is like winking at someone in a dark room. You know you’re doing it but nobody else does.” It is important for any business and especially for any new enterprise to advertise. Ensure that you make the most of your advertising investment by asking consumers how they found your product.

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Cat Kidney Disease – Natural Ways to Overcome the Problem

LA-catfood-compareCat kidney disease more often affects older cats than younger ones, although these are not immune. Since kidneys are responsible for eliminating waste from the body, their healthy function is critical to a healthy cat. By using a system of natural cat health care, you can cure the current problem and prevent it happening again.

There are several causes of kidney malfunction. A lack of natural nutrition is a major one. Pesticides in the food your cat eats can be a cause. There are many veterinary drugs that cause kidney malfunction – antibiotics, anti-parasitics, anaesthetics and many others.

Cat kidney disease can also accompany other diseases, such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism.

While most cats are pretty savvy when it comes to rejecting harmful foods, the common practice of feeding the chemical laden commercial cat food has dulled their natural abilities. This means they may find a tasty morsel of food in the vicinity of a recently pesticide sprayed garden.

Kidneys have a large reserve capacity. This means that you are unlikely to notice any problem exists until three quarters of the kidneys are damaged. So it’s much better to avoid all potential hazards.

The earliest signs will be increased thirst and urination. The urine will be pale, rather than yellow. As the problem escalates, toxins that can no longer be flushed away, start to build up in the body. This can produce a variety of symptoms, such as a lack of appetite, vomiting, bad breathe, lethargy, depression and destructive symptoms such as ulcers. Seizures are likely to develop eventually.

Veterinary diagnose of kidney disease in cats comes from urine and blood tests, palpation, X-rays and ultrasound tests.

Dehydration can become a real and ongoing problem.

Veterinary treatment will normally consist of a low protein diet and medication, which is likely to cause further damage to the kidneys over time.

Cats evolved on a high protein diet, so feeding them a low protein diet may keep the condition under control, but it is not addressing the cause of the problem. Your cat is also more likely to be very hungry. A low protein diet is also more likely to be deficient in nutrition.

Most commercial cat food contains low quality food and is high in chemical additives, despite any claims to the contrary. By feeding your cat a quality, natural diet you can reverse kidney disease and prevent it happening in otherwise unaffected cats.

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Dog Prescription Diets – Dietary Sensitivity and Feeding Advice

4d206fd4-b66b-417e-8461-6e5cc5ce8ba2 Food related sensitivities in dogs are usually not instant, but develop over time. For example a hypersensitivity to beef or diary ingredients used in many supermarket brands is quite common!

There are two main types of dietary sensitivity. A food allergy – where your dog’s immune system reacts to an ingredient in the dog food, usually in response to a particular form of protein, and food intolerance – where a particular ingredient does not cause an allergic reaction, but can’t be tolerated. These reactions are often caused by cheap ingredients, fillers or derivatives. Further, certain forms of protein can cause digestive disorders or skin complaints, such as itchy, flaky skin, loose digestion or flatulence.

Any ingredient can cause a food intolerance, but protein sources such as beef and milk, or carbohydrates like wheat, are often problematic for many dogs. Chemical additives like colourings or artificial preservers can also cause adverse food reactions.

When combating food intolerance symptoms, your veterinary may recommend a premium dog food or prescription diet. These are costly but can mostly be replaced. For instance, specialist veterinary diets for food related sensitivities, digestion problems and even diabetic diets can be substituted with a more cost-effective brand such as Burns Dog Food, Natures Choice, Arden Grange, James Wellbeloved, Wafcol, and Skinners.

Things to look out for when choosing a premium hypoallergenic food

  • No genetically modified ingredients
  • Suitable for holistic veterinary treatment
  • No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives
  • Adult recipes suitable for adult and senior dogs
  • Controlled levels of protein and fat in each recipe
  • Fixed ingredients to avoid adverse food reactions
  • Holistic approach to health and nutrition for your dog
  • Hypoallergenic – contains no wheat, beef, soya or dairy products
  • Made from high quality natural ingredients, with no unwanted fillers
  • Contains brown rice, oats, peas, sunflower oil, seaweed, minerals & vitamins
  • Low in fat and protein, high in complex carbohydrates

Burns dog food was developed by Johns Burns, a veterinary surgeon who realised many commercial pet foods contained poor ingredients, additives and undesirable fillers; making them unsuitable for treating food related allergies or sensitivities. Finding that for most owners it was not practical to make their own, he decided to develop a holistic range himself. Using the same homemade principles he recommended to owners, he created suitable alternatives to many prescription diets produced to treat various health problems and food sensitivities.

Burns recipes are naturally preserved, wholesome, easy to digest, delicious and contain no unhealthy ingredients or additives found in many other leading brands. Each contains only a single source of meat or fish protein, which allows owners to avoid certain forms of protein, which can cause digestive disorders or skin complaints in their dog.

All Burns varieties has been formulated to naturally boost the immune system, promote a healthy skin and glossy coat, and help protect the digestive tract. You are sure to find a hypoallergenic food suitable for each stage of your dog’s or puppy’s life.

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What Every Dog Owner Needs To Know About Dog Vaccination

reasons-for-dog-vaccination-L-BrIKpK There are many questions about dog vaccines. Does your dog need yearly vaccines? What are the real risks of vaccination? What is a safe, advised vaccine protocol for my dog? Are there alternate options to conventional dog vaccines? In this article I will give you an understanding of what vaccines are, including the reasons for vaccination. I will highlight the new canine vaccine recommendations, along with the risks associated with vaccines. You will see some of the vaccine alternatives, along with my suggested vaccine protocol. Whether you choose to vaccinate your dog or not can have serious health implications; I urge you to completely read the article, discuss it with your veterinarian, and make an informed decision.

Vaccinations work by stimulating the immune system. The positive effect is to protect against infectious disease. When vaccines are given, they incite the immune system to produce something called ‘humoral immunity’. Humoral immunity is essentially disease protection that is mediated or controlled by antibodies. If the body has had a previous encounter with a pathogen, the body makes ‘Opposite Invaders’ to circulate in body fluids. The ‘Opposite Invaders’ are called antibodies. These molecules attach to or otherwise disable invaders and prevent them from doing harm to the body.

The conventional approach in the past was to get annual ‘booster shots’, in the belief that vaccines only provided immunity for approximately one year, and that revaccination was required in order to boost or maintain a dog’s immunity. This was the advised protocol of veterinary associations for decades, and most veterinarians followed that protocol. Fortunately times have changed, and now recent American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) guidelines advise that all core vaccines are recommended every 3 years, with the 1 year Rabies being the exception. They have also stated that distemper virus, parovovirus, and adenovirus vaccine immunity lasts for at least 5 years; AAHA though still suggests that your dog is given the vaccine more frequently than the length of immunity. They advise giving 3 boosters prior to 16 weeks, vaccines at 1 year, then every 3 years thereafter. In many cases individual States or Provinces require rabies vaccine to be given prior to 16 weeks, boosted at 1 year, then every year thereafter.

Vaccines have a number of risks, and the AAHA report states that: “Vaccine adverse effects (AE’s) are underreported in veterinary medicine.” There are short term side effects which can last for up to 3 days, such as appetite loss, injection site pain, lethargy, unwillingness to walk/run, and fever. More serious sudden side effects include: vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of skin, seizuring, breathing difficulty and collapse. Then there are the immune related diseases, including immune mediated hemolytic anemia, immune mediated skin disease, vaccine induced skin cancer, skin allergies, arthritis, leukemia, inflammatory bowel disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, and neurological conditions, to name a few. The reasoning behind this is that when a vaccine is injected, the immune system becomes ‘over-taxed’ and responds inappropriately. It may turn and attack itself, as in the event of an autoimmune disease, or even attack the site of the injection. We see the evidence clearly in cats with the incidence of injection site sarcomas, or with dogs, the worsening of inhalant allergies after vaccination. The list of potential problems is exhaustive.

More dog owners are now making the decision on whether or not to re-vaccinate their dog by checking their dog’s immunity level with antibody titers. These titers have become more standardized, and when measured at a particular level, will give a good indication if your dog has enough antibodies to be protected against canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and rabies. Antibody titers are a great way to see if your dog is in need of revaccination following the puppy vaccine boosters.

The chief alternatives to vaccines are called homeopathic nosodes. A nosode is thought to carry a mirror image or reflection of the disease, or in other words the ‘molecular imprint’ of it. When the nosode is administered, it sensitizes the immune system and helps it prepare the body for the defense against that same disease, without actually being exposed to the full strength of the living disease. Nosodes are considered completely safe, with no side effects, but their effectiveness is questionable. Some dog owners report that they seem to offer some protection by reducing the severity of illness if your dog is exposed to these infectious viruses.

The vaccine regimen I suggest is based in my own research and experience in veterinary practice. Puppies only need a series of two vaccine boosters, one at 8 weeks then repeated at 12 weeks. I find the most critical time to prevent infectious disease is at this young age. In small puppies, I prefer to wait until 12 weeks. The traditional third booster in puppies is not necessary. If possible, delay giving the rabies vaccine until 6 months. Puppies should only be vaccinated for parvovirus (MLV – modified live vaccine) and Distemper (MLV). Only give bordetella (kennel cough) vaccines if going to a kennel or puppy class. Give rabies vaccine (KILLED) at 6 months.

I do not recommend vaccinations for corona virus, leptospirosis, lyme or giardia vaccines for dogs. The currently licensed leptospira bacterins do not contain the serovars (viruses) causing the majority of clinical leptospirosis today, so it is generally not a useful vaccine.

My current advice is to give booster vaccines at 1 year, then every 3 years until the age of 10. With the new research showing longer duration of immunity (5-7 years), you may not need to be re-vaccinating your dog for 5-7 years after the 1 year booster. Most of the infectious diseases are transmitted when dogs are young; the most important vaccines are the two boosters for puppies and the one year booster. Discuss this with your veterinarian prior to vaccinating your dog.

This issue of dog vaccination is fraught with controversy and an array of conflicting opinions. There are real benefits of vaccines, but also risks, from short term lethargy, to more serious disease such as autoimmune disorders. Fortunately organizations such as AAHA are now suggesting longer intervals between vaccines, but the number, and frequency of vaccines is still up for debate. Consider my suggested vaccine protocol, and learn as much as possible about vaccines and diseases in your area. Your veterinarian cannot make this decision for you, nor should they. It is your responsibility to make this decision for your dog. The best road to good health is feeding a diet rich in fresh foods, raw meats for the carnivores, fatty acid supplements, adequate exercise, lots of positive human interaction and avoiding disease.

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Dog Worms: How To Quickly Treat Them With Natural And Conventional Options


Worms in dogs are very common, with up to 1/3 of all dogs being infected with intestinal parasites; roundworms, tapeworms, coccidia and giardia. In this article, I’ll go over the most common types of worms, and how you can tell if your dog has worms. I’ll 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 1-3 inches long, white, and tapered or round- hence 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, appearing bloated. In large infestations they can cause vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss, although most pet owners diagnose them by seeing a worm in their dog’s 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 stool- the segments are flat, white, and sometimes described as flat grains of rice. Dogs acquire most tapeworms after ingesting a flea; the tapeworm life-cycle 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 is a worm like microscopic intestinal parasite that commonly causes diarrhea in puppies, but can affect older dogs with compromised immune systems. Coccidia is 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 doesn’t respond to traditional roundworm treatment.

Giardia is a water borne intestinal parasite that more commonly affects adult dogs causing diarrhea; it is also known as ‘beaver fever’. Giardia gets into the water via contamination by wild animals (such as beavers) and infected dogs. The guardian 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.

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 dog’s 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, un-crowded environment to decrease the chances of developing coccidia.

The conventional treatment for dog worms depends upon the type of intestinal parasite your dog has. Roundworms are easy to treat with a common, and safe medication called pyrantel palmoate; avoid using any of the older de-wormers containing piperazine as they can be very unsafe. Treatment with Pyran (Pyrantel) is 2 doses, 10-14 days apart. As most puppies have roundworms, I suggest having them all dosed with Pyran at 6 and 8 weeks- they may need additional treatments. Tapeworms respond well to treatment with praziquantel, which may be combined with pyran (drontal); generally only 1 dose is required. Coccidia respond best to the sulfa antibiotics, usually sulfadimethoxine (S-125, or Albon); the dose being 250mg per 10lbs once daily for 14-21 days. Giardia can be treated with 2 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 10lbs once daily for 3-7 days.

A number of different natural remedies are being used to help treat and eliminate worms in dogs. Papaya was shown to be effective in eliminating roundworms in pigs, it may work for your pet and at least it will do no harm. Pumpkin seed has been used for tapeworms. If your pet is a great hunter always re-infesting herself with tapeworms, you may want to consider this. The dose is 1 tsp per 10 lbs of body weight of the ground seed. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) is a common anti-parasitic used for animals: give 1 capsule of the ground herb per 20 lbs of body weight. Garlic has shown some activity against a parasite called Giardia (causes Beaver Fever). It is useful in recurrent infections.

You should now have a good understanding of the common types of worms in dogs, and be able to recognize the common symptoms of infection: vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and worms in the feces. The four most common intestinal parasites are: roundworms, tapeworms, coccidia and giardia – they can all be prevented with adequate dog hygiene. Lastly you should now be aware of the most effective conventional and holistic remedies to treat your dog if they are to acquire any of these intestinal parasites.

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