Dog deworming seems to be a concern to dog owners all over the world. I shall be telling you all about it and how to get it right/solutions to it. Let’s get down to the topic.
What are worms?
These are parasitic organisms that live within the body of animals.
Living off nutrients and sometimes blood. causing debilitating and disease conditions in such animals.
In dogs, the most common worms are the tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm, and whipworms. Of all these worms, only the tapeworm and the roundworms are visible to the naked eyes and I am pretty sure we all must have seen a few before.
Before we go proceed, we have to answer the following questions.
Dogs are exposed to worm infestation from various sources.
1.) Soil infested with worm eggs or larvae
2.) Contact of dogs with infected dog feces.
3.) Eating of infested meat or wildlife. Wildlife most times carry a heavy load of worms
4.) Ingestion of infected Fleas during grooming
5.) Sucking milk from an infected mother
6.) Uterine infection of unborn puppies(this is actually seen mainly in roundworms
Now that we know this, the next question we need to answer is:
How do I know my dog is carrying worms?
Symptoms of worm infestations
Dogs tend to show varying symptoms when carrying loads of worms
1. No sign at all. Lol
Yes you heard it right
Your dog may be carrying loads of worms and may show no visible outward sign
No form of discomfort whatsoever.
In a way, I guess it boils down to tolerance level of individual dogs Or maybe it might just be dependent on the worm load Or severity.
Many dogs with worm loads may vomit. Sometimes, they may even vomit a live worm.
3. Weight loss, with a concomitant increased appetite
Your dog may suddenly start losing weight and may start eating more!!
This is actually a result of the worms feeding on a large portion of the consumed food and nutrient ingested by the dog.
4. Rough and dry coat
Dogs with heavy worm loads, tend to have a grumpy look.
Dried and rough coat. Increases hair loss and shedding. this is to say, worms can actually affect the hair of our dogs.
5. Round bloated tummy
This is a common sign of worm load in puppies. Puppies that were infested from their mother’s womb show this feature clearly. Round bloated tummy with poor stunted growth.
These are a number of signs most commonly seen in infected dogs.
Now let us leave the periphery
And let us move into our main focus.
As highlighted earlier, worms in dogs can be of various types.
However, roundworm is the most commonly seen.
Picking a suitable dewormer for your dog will be largely dependent on identifying the exact type of worm which is prevalent in the dog, or the mix of worms presently affecting the dog.
Many a time, we breeders and dog lovers/owners pick an over the counter product and administer once we detect worm infection in our dogs.
These actions sometimes have severe repercussions that may in severe cases be life-threatening in the dog(s).
That leads us to the subtopic :
Inherent hazards associated with deworming
Let us start by dealing with:
Side effects of dog deworming
Let’s analyze the case below;
Case study 1:
Before I start probing into what Mr. Sola might have done wrong, let me drop all other adverse effects commonly seen after deworming.
1. I have mentioned vomiting.
2. Loss of appetite for a day or 2.
3. GIT upset and mild to severe diarrhea.
4. Blood may be seen in diarrhea.
5. In Dogs with heavy worm loads, dead worms may actually clog intestinal tracts causing impaction and blockage. – This leads to severe abdominal pain, Persistent vomiting. Surgery may be the only way out.
Most times these side effects usually resolve within a few days when the dog is provided with adequate supportive care.
Now let us answer the question on our minds : *What did Mr. Sola do wrong?*
This will lead us to the subtopic :
Overdosing of dog dewormer and drug hypersensitivity
We all make this mistake so I won’t crucify anyone.
Often times we all fail to ensure that we follow the specific dose of the drug to the dog, either due to assumptions or just cheer recklessness.
Giving a dog above the recommended dose may most certainly lead to these signs displayed by Barry. Often time, we just fail to know the accurate weight of our dogs.
Thus we make assumptions and calculate -This can be dangerous a time.
Some particular anthelmintics are even contraindicated in some species of dogs, but we out of ignorance just administer without due diligence.
These dogs have been seen to be highly hypersensitive to these drugs. And have thus, been noted down. If you own one of these breeds of dogs you may be doing your dog more harm than good by just administering any drug to deworm him/her.
This is why it is very important you have your Vet recommend a suitable drug to be used specifically for deworming your dog.
I have seen cases of deaths following simple routine dewormings. Most times 2 dogs may just not be the same. – When it comes to drugs
Now let us deal with the other side of the coin Underdosing your dog
Failure to get the exact weight may lead to underdosing your dog. As much as you will agree with me that it is a lot safer to underdose truth is you end up causing more harm than good to your dog.
That is, You end up killing only a portion of the worm load if any while the remaining worms start developing resistance to the drug used.
Repeated under-dosing will end up creating a generation of worms very resistant to the active ingredient of the drug abused by you.
We won’t do justice to this part if we do not understand a little of the roundworms’ life cycle.
Now that we have dealt with both sides of the coin let start diving into:
Dog deworming: How to see worm your dog; How to get it right!
How to ensure your dogs are “worm free?”
The roundworm being the most prevalent worm in dogs can lay eggs even in the tissues of adult dogs.
These eggs form cysts which remain dormant for months in the dog.
During pregnancy, these cysts get activated and they find their way into the uterus where they infest the unborn puppies.
So, in other words, most puppies are actually born with roundworms in them.
This is the reason why an adequate deworming routine must start at 2 weeks of age.
Repeated every 2 weeks until the puppies are 8 to 10 weeks of age.
Ensure your Veterinarian handle this for you, or recommend the ideal dewormer to be used.
I always recommend the very best of dewormers to my friends.
You can easily walk into any of the petshop plus stores and have them picked up.
It is highly effective in giving broad-spectrum treatment against worms in dogs.
Back to our discussion: One major point dog owners fail to understand is that most dewormers require more than a single dose to eradicate worm loads!
A single dose eliminates the adult population in the GIT,
Thus a 2nd round of deworming should be done 2 weeks after the first
However, in few days eggs laid down by those adults hatch off producing a new population of infestation!!
This is very important
A subsequent repeat at every 3 months interval will have a very good job in getting your dogs “worm free”.
With this said, I will like to give the following guideline, which I believe if followed will help us keep our dogs’ worm free and healthy.
1. Make sure your vet examine your dog at least once in a year and carry out a fecal test to examine the “prevalent” worms your dog is carrying. This is very important as you may just be deworming blindly.
2. Fleas are very important in the life cycle of tapeworms, thus keep your dog flea-free by using flea collars or the right anti-parasiticides.
3. Avoid feeding or prevent your dog from eating raw meat from a wild source.
Most wild lives carry heavy worm loads and these can easily be transmitted to your dog upon ingestion.
4.) Always ensure you maintain good hygiene around your dogs. Always pack up and clean poop as soon as possible. Don’t leave them loitering around. Many dogs actually sniff around and pick up worms from other dogs poop.
5. Ensure you follow a routine deworming program using an effective dewormer as prescribed by your Vet.
6. Understand that you as humans may also get infected with these worms, thus it is important you maintain very good personal hygiene around dogs especially after packing the poop.
Wash your hands very well and get them sanitized.
This brings us to the end of our discussion.
Let the questions start coming. Check below to see the “comment” section. Drop all questions there and “submit”.