Parasites in Your Dog or PuppyKeith
Have your Dog or Puppy Checked for Parasites Regularly.
Checking your dog on a regular basis for intestinal parasites is one of the less appealing aspects of having a dog but a necessary. It’s a dirty job, but it is an important step in keeping your dog or puppy healthy.
What to look for
There are several internal parasites that may infect your dog. The four worms that can infect your dog are tapeworms, whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms. There are other protozoa that can affect your dog as well, and these include toxoplasma, giardia, and coccidia.
If you think your dog is suffering from an internal parasite, the first step will be to identify the parasite with the help of your vet. In order to find the most effective treatment for your dog, your vet will need to know precisely what he is dealing with.
Sometimes this can be easier said than done, due to the manner in which some parasites release their eggs. However, a definitive diagnosis will put your dog on the road to a proper solution.
One parasite is one that you can detect at home. Tapeworms can be seen in your dog’s stools, looking like small pieces of rice. You may also see evidence of tapeworms around your dog’s anal area. If you see this symptom in your dog, remove these segments and place them in a sealed container for your vets inspection.
The importance of regular vet exams
During the first year of your dog’s life, your veterinarian will probably ask for a number of fecal samples for testing. This process is important in keeping your puppy healthy, since it can be the quickest and most effective means of finding intestinal parasites.
Adhere to your veterinarian’s schedule, and always bring in samples that are no more than twelve hours old. You might consider storing your sample in a cooler or refrigerator until you take it.
Your vet will examine these samples with a microscope to check for the eggs of various parasites. After your dog’s first birthday, an annual fecal sample should be sufficient, unless you suspect a problem.
Treatment and prevention
If your dog does end up with an internal parasite, treatment will begin. Sometimes more than one parasite will be involved, which means that more than one treatment may be necessary. Some types of parasites will also require treatment of your dog’s environment as well.
Most treatments only take a few days to complete. Your vet will check your dog regularly throughout the treatment period and for a number of weeks afterward to ensure that the parasites are completely eliminated. You may be asked to bring in another fecal sample within three to four weeks after treatment is complete.
To prevent a recurrence of internal parasites, try to keep your dog away from areas where other animals have gone potty, since parasites are often transmitted through fecal matter. This may be hard to do if you take your dog to parks and the like, but if you can keep him out of some of the more, ahem, heavily trafficked areas, it’s a start. You can also talk to your veterinarian about preventative medications that you can give to your dog for certain types of parasites.
Occasionally, a healthy pet will not show signs of parasites right away, which is why an annual examination is so important. But staying on top of any strange symptoms that your dog might exhibit will go a long way in keeping your pet healthy and happy.