Parasite Control

Parasites in Dogs

Roundworms (Toxocara)

These are picked up by puppies through the placenta during pregnancy and through the milk when nursing. This high exposure combined with the puppy’s immature immune system means that de-worming treatment is recommended every 2 weeks from 2 until 12 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months of age. High worm burdens in puppies can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, poor growth and a condition where the gut telescopes over itself (intussusception) which requires surgery to correct but could be fatal if not detected.

As adults it rarely causes disease, however, it is still important to treat your dog every 3 months for public health reasons. The eggs released in dog poo can cause disease in immunocompromised humans and children, most commonly blindness as children pick up the eggs from the ground and then rub their eyes. The eggs are incredibly resistant, staying in the ground for up to 8 years.

Tapeworms

Picked up from scavenging sheep/cattle carcasses or ingesting fleas when grooming, tapeworms can grow up to metres long inside the dog’s gut. Segments are then released in stools and cause itching around the bottom. When sheep and cattle ingest the segments they cause cysts which affect the quality of the meat produced.

It is recommended to treat for tapeworm every 6 months.

Fleas

Picked up from anywhere other animals exist, fleas bite to cause itching and dermatitis  on you and your dog. If your dog is allergic to the flea’s saliva, symptoms are even more severe. Each flea can lay over 1000 eggs per day, meaning that 95% of a flea problem is actually within the home environment rather than in your dog’s coat. It can be difficult to treat the flea population in your home and so prevention is always better than cure, but if monthly flea prevention treatments have lapsed, it can take a few months to completely rid the home. Pet shop products do nothing to treat the home and so house sprays combined with hoovering, or prescription dog flea treatments are essential for success. Spot-ons, tablets and collars are all available to make treatment easy, so please get in touch to discuss what is best for your situation.

Ticks

Our area is a hotspot for ticks which can be picked up by your dog in long grass. The main season is March to October, although increasingly we are seeing ticks in the winter too. As well as causing a reaction at the site of attachment, ticks can transmit Lyme’s disease if attached for more than 24 hours. This difficult to diagnose disease causes various intermittent symptoms, including lameness in your dog.  A vaccine is also available. European ticks will transmit other diseases such as Ehrlichia and Babesia which affect blood cells, causing anaemia. Although rare in the UK, increasing pet travel and global warming will mean this may be seen more frequently.

Lungworm

Carried by slugs and snails and their slime, Lungworm larvae are eaten and spread to the lungs, where they grow into adult worms. Not only does their presence cause coughing and lung damage, but the anticoagulant the worms release leads to spontaneous bleeding, which can be fatal. Monthly worming will protect your dog becoming affected.