If only these jelly worms were all we had to worry about! In the canine world, there are two broad categories of worms that may affect our pet dogs, intestinal worms and heartworms.
Worming is one of the first health care issues dog owners need to address as pups are the most susceptible. As their name suggests, intestinal worms are parasites that live inside your dog’s intestines. These worms range in size from small to surprisingly large (up to 18cm in length). Regardless of their size however, they all have negative, and potentially deadly effects.
Most species of animal, as well as humans, can be infected with intestinal worms including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, fish, birds and reptiles.
Common intestinal worms in Australian pets are:
If your dog has a large number of worms it may find it difficult to maintain body condition and it can lose weight. In some cases it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even anaemia (a low red blood cell level). Occasionally, heavy intestinal worm burdens can cause death.
Worms sometimes have complex lifecycles which involve a period of existence and development outside your dog. Understanding the life cycle of a specific worm is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented. For instance, some tapeworms need to pass through fleas to complete their lifecycle, so flea prevention is an important method of controlling tapeworms.
It is important to maintain a routine worming treatment for your dogs, to reduce the incidence of infection and to reduce environmental contamination. There are many worming treatments available for the various worm infections that occur in our dogs. These are available as tablets, spot-ons, or pastes. Re-infection is a common problem, particularly in dogs that are in contact with a heavily contaminated environment. Another very important reason to worm your dogs is to protect your family; as children in particular can become infected with certain dog worms.
Below are some tips to consider regarding worm prevention:
- Promptly clean up dog faeces
- Practice good hygiene, always encourage children to wash their hands regularly (especially after playing in dirt or sandpits, playing with pets or prior to eating)
- Prevent children from playing where the soil may be contaminated
- Keep your dog’s environment clean
- Always dispose of dog faeces in public parks and playgrounds
Please call us to discuss an intestinal worming program for your dog.
Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, is a parasite that is spread by mosquitoes, so your pet does not even need to be in contact with other pets to become infected!
Heartworm is present throughout most of Australia (except Tasmania and arid areas).
Please call us to discuss the best heartworm prevention for your pet, especially if moving back to the mainland or where mosquitoes are prevalent.