Trilliums in Northern Ontario
Northern Ontario
 


 


 


Animals and Pet Care

Parasites
by
Dr. Rod Jouppi, Walden Animal Clinic

HEARTWORM

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 microfilariae.

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.

FLEAS

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 veterinarian.

HOOKWORM

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 puppies.

ROUNDWORM

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.

WHIPWORM

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.
 

 

 

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