Worms are parasites that not only affect dogs but can also affect humans. To avoid an out-of control situation with worms, follow these rules:
- Worm your dog regularly. Once per month if they are in contact with other dogs or, at least every 3 months if they don’t often associate with other dogs.
- Always pick up dog droppings as soon as possible, keeping your yard and the environment free of contamination, not just from faecal material but also from worm eggs.
- Teach children to always wash their hands after playing with the dog and ensure you do the same.
- Never feed your dog offal (liver, kidneys, heart etc) as these can contain larvae from a seriously nasty tapeworm called hydatid worms.
To appreciate why you need to worm so frequently let’s examine the worms lifecycle. Worms eggs hatch in the environment, especially in warm, moist conditions. Dogs then pick up these hatchlings, called larvae, when they sniff or lick an infected area. The larvae are swallowed and enter the intestinal tract. The larvae then burrow through into the bloodstream of the dog. From there, the larvae migrate through the body moving into the lungs, where they eventually grown and mature. Finally, they are coughed up the windpipe, swallowed, then they re-enter the intestinal tract as adult worms which eventually lay their own eggs. The whole process for roundworms & hookworms take 3 weeks.
The problem is that when you worm your dog, you can only kill the adult worms in the intestinal tract at the time the medication is going through. 24 hours after dosing, a dog can have worms again if they have lots of larvae throughout their lungs. The immature larvae are not affected by any medication.
The scenario is even more complicated with puppies because they can pick up worm larvae while in their mother’s uterus as well as while suckling from her. Combined with an immature immune system and it’s little wonder that pups can be infected with worms from 7 days of age onwards! Therefore it is essential for breeders to worm their pups early in life and that owners continue an intensive life long worming regime.
There are a number of different types of worms that may affect your pet: Intestinal Worms include – Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Flea Tapeworm and Hydatids Tapeworm.
Most puppies & kittens are born with a large burden of roundworms and are highly susceptible to other worm infections. All of the intestinal worms can cause damage within the digestive system.
- Hookworms can cause severe anaemia.
- Roundworms can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing and intestinal obstructions.
- Whipworms can cause acute abdominal pain. fever and diarrhoea.
- Flea Tapeworms cause intense irritation at the anus, dogs often”scoot” along the ground.
- Hookworm can cause skin irritations especially on the feet.
- Roundworm larvae can migrate through the body ending up in the brain, liver, lungs or muscles. They have been reported to cause blindness.
- Hydatid Tapeworms form cysts anywhere within your body – often within nervous tissue and the brain. Major surgery is required and some deaths have occurred.
Regular worming with products which kill roundworms and tapeworms will ensure that your pet and your family are fully protected.
Suggested worming schedule:
- 2 – 12 weeks of age: Worm every 2 weeks
- 3 – 6 months of age: Worm every month
- After 6 months of age: Worm every 3 to 6 months