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The Dangers of Canine Parasites
by: Rose Smith

When you get a puppy, one of the first things that you
need to do is make an appointment with the vet to get
your new family member his or her vaccinations. Along
with any recommended shots, your cuddly canine will
probably get a dose of a de-worming formula to rid
them of any internal parasites.


Some parasites can be very dangerous to your dog,
especially to puppies. For instance, a hookworm (about
1/8" in length) will adhere itself to the small intestine
and begin to suck the blood from your pet. It can cause
severe anemia, followed by circulatory collapse, severe
diarrhea, hemorrhaging, shock and finally death.

Puppies may receive hookworms through the mother's
placenta during the gestation period or through the
mother's milk when nursing. This is why it is very
important that new puppies receive a de-worming formula.

These parasites can also enter an adult dog quite
easily when your pet walks over soil that contains
any contaminated feces from other animals. In turn,
your dog then licks his or her paws and ingests the
hookworm larvae. Even without the paw licking the
larvae can burrow through the skin and into the dog.
Once inside, the larvae migrate to the small intestine
where they grow into adult hookworms, usually within
14 days.

A female hookworm will begin to lay eggs... 20,000 of
them per day! As you can see, it is vitally important
to have your favorite canine de-wormed should they
become infested with hookworms. If you see symptoms
such as diarrhea, weakness, pale gums, or weight loss,
take your canine to the veterinarian immediately for
diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis is usually made
through a small stool sample. Treatment consists of
an oral or injected medication which kills the adult
hookworms, but not the larvae. This treatment needs
to be repeated again in 2 to 4 weeks to kill the larvae
that have emerged as adults. In cases of severe anemia,
your dog may require a blood transfusion.


Roundworms are another common parasite most often found
in puppies. The worms are usually heavy-bodied and
grow to about 6" in length.

Infection usually occurs as larvae that have lain dormant
in an adult female dog are reactivated when the female
dog becomes pregnant. The larvae begin to migrate through
the placenta to the liver of the fetus. They also will
migrate to the mammary glands of the mother, so that the
puppies can also become infected while nursing.

The time from roundworm larvae infection to the adult
stage is about 27 days. Most roundworms live about 4
months in the puppy and are usually expelled by the
natural immune system of the puppy before 6 months of

So, if puppies naturally expel these parasites, how do
adult dogs end up with them? The adult dog ingests them
by eating some food supply that contain the larvae.


Another very common worm is the tapeworm. This worm
lives in the intestines of both dogs and cats. The worm
is transmitted by fleas. When a dog or cat has fleas,
they will naturally ingest the tapeworm while grooming.
The tapeworm then makes its way to the intestine.

There are usually no noticeable symptoms for the most
part, although sometimes your dog may show some stomach
upsets, diarrhea or just seems somewhat lethargic. You
can often tell if your pet has tapeworms by finding
small, whitish worm segments that look like small grains
of rice under the tail of your pet or on its bedding.
Also, you dog may begin "scooting" their rear end along
the floor because of irritation. It takes approximately
three weeks from the time your dog ingests the flea
until you begin to see tapeworm segments.

Although not generally harmful to an animals health,
tapeworms are certainly something you'll want to rid
your dog of. One of the first treatments for tapeworms
is to begin a program of flea control treatment program
for your pet and the immediate environment of your house
and yard.

Rose Smith is the author and owner of Caring For Canines.


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