Animals and Pet Care
Dr. Rod Jouppi, Walden Animal
Each year, heartworms threaten nearly 50
million dogs in North America with death or permanent disability.
Heartworms are the most serious of several worm parasites that include
hookworms, roundworms and whipworm. If left untreated, heartworms are
almost always fatal.
Heartworm disease is transmitted by
mosquitoes. When a dog already infected with heartworm in bitten, the
mosquito takes up immature baby worms (microfilariae), as well as blood.
The worms grow into infective larvae are transmitted to other dogs by
the infective mosquito.
These larvae travel to the new dog's
heart where they mature and complete the life cycle by producing new
Heartworms usually cause no outward signs until the disease is advance,
Dogs gradually lose weight and stamina, developing a cough that worsens
with exercise. Breathing may become painful or difficult.
Your dog should be tested for heartworm by a veterinarian before stating
preventive medication. Treating heartworm disease after it occurs can be
dangerous. It is much safer and less expensive to prevent the disease.
The adult fleas you see represent only about 5% of the total infestation
present in your home. About 10 times that, or 50% of the total
population exist in the egg stage, approximately 35% more at the larvae
stage, and 10% at the pupae stage, all waiting to develop.
Treating only the fleas you see leave a huge potential for a continuing
problem. Instead, treating them breaks the flea cycle, and neutralizes
and stops the development of flea eggs and larvae. The flea population
dies out, stopping the problem right at the source.
With our warm indoor climates, fleas can be a problem at any time of
year. That's why you should discuss year-round protection with your
Hookworm is a common parasite in Canada. Less than 2 cm long, these tiny
worms attach to the intestinal lining with hook-like teeth and feed on
the dog's blood.
Hookworms move around constantly as they feed, leaving many bleeding
sounds. Thirty adults can cause a dog to lose 30ml of blood a day. In a
puppy, as few as 100 hookworms can be fatal.
Severe hookworm infection produces bloody, mucus-laden diarrhea. It can
impair growth and physical ability and cause anemia, weakness, weight
loss, dermatitis and a rough coat. Hookworms are most dangerous to
Protect your dog by treating and controlling two types of roundworms.
These two types of roundworms live in the intestine, sucking blood and
releasing eggs that are excreted in the feces. Dogs with roundworm often
have a rough coat and bloated belly.
Fairly harmless to adult dogs, roundworms can be serious in puppies.
They can cause vomiting, diarrhea and colic. Severe infections can
damage the live, lungs and brain.
Puppies often become infected before birth when larvae travel from the
placenta of the mother to the liver of the unborn pup. Larvae may also
infect puppies as they nurse.
Whipworms are 2-to 3-inch long parasites that burrow into the large
intestine and cecum of dogs, causing severe bowel inflammation. In large
numbers, they cause bloody diarrhea and weight loss. Eggs are passed in
the feces and may live in the environment for years. It is important to
keep your dog away from contaminated areas.
Both whipworm adults and larvae resist many medications, often requiring
several months of treatment. Because treatment is difficult and
reinfection common, prevention is your best choice. The once-a-month
oral tablet is the contemporary way to prevent, control, and treat
heartworm, fleas, and worms.