It's essential to deworm your dog because intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, are pathogenic - they cause harm. These parasites can steal your dog's nutrients, affecting their health. Additionally, some of these intestinal parasites can be contagious to humans. So, ensuring your pet is free from intestinal parasites protects you and your family as well.
Aside from tapeworms, other common intestinal parasites include roundworms and hookworms. Roundworms are large and resemble spaghetti. These parasites can cause diarrhea, and sometimes, pets can even vomit them. When a puppy comes in and has a soft stool, we'll first screen for parvovirus and run a fecal float for which we need a sample. So when you bring your dog in for their annual exam, please bring a stool sample with. Hookworms, on the other hand, are microscopic and can cause diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and severe anemia, as they are bloodsucking parasites. It can get so severe that puppies will need a blood transfusion to survive.
A zoonotic parasite is one that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Therefore, if your dog has been diagnosed with hookworms, it's crucial to maintain good hygiene like washing hands and cleaning up after your pet promptly. It's also advisable to avoid walking barefoot in areas where your dog has defecated, as the larvae can penetrate the skin.
Selecting the right dewormer depends on the type of parasite you're treating. Your veterinarian is the best person to prescribe an appropriate dewormer. Although there are general over-the-counter dewormers available, these can sometimes cause side effects and may not be effective against the specific type of parasite affecting your dog. Your vet will identify the correct dewormer by examining the type of eggs found in your dog's feces under a microscope. Our dogs go places and swallow things, and some dogs may have intestinal parasites that are not pathogenic to the dog. The dog likely ate rodent or bird feces, so they have an egg in them that would have caused harm in these animals but won't in dogs. Therefore, we need to try to take care of the environment and ensure your dog is not eating bird or rodent feces. I recommend coming in to your veterinarian's office to be treated because different intestinal parasites are treated differently. Feel free to give us a call and schedule an appointment, and we'll check their fecal sample.
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