Why should you deworm your pet?

Internal parasites cause a number of issues if not treated for. Poor growth in puppies/kittens can be a result of a large parasite burden.

Internal GI parasites utilize the nutrients in the puppy’s/kitten’s food for their own growth. The puppy’s/kitten’s tend to grow poorly, have poor coat and skin (dry, brittle fur and dry, flaky skin), and certain types of internal parasites can also cause damage to the intestinal tract as they latch on.

Some parasites can migrate into the body tissues and then lie dormant until a stressful event occurs. This is why even if a bitch/queen has been dewormed prior to breeding the puppies/kittens can still have worms when born.

People that are young or immunocompromised are especially susceptible to parasite transmission. Young children should routinely wash their hands. Parasites and their ova can exist in the environment, so as children play with items outside and then stick their fingers in their mouth, the potential is there to contract these parasites. People with compromised immune systems also have a higher chance of contracting a parasite than a healthy person.

Deworming medications available at the Cobequid Animal Hospital Include:
Interceptor PLUS, Advantage Multi, Sentinel, Safeguard , Strongid T, Nexgard Spectra, Milbemax, & Profender

 

Common Parasites

Hookworms
These tiny 2 cm worms attach to the intestinal lining with hook-like teeth. Moving around constantly to feed, these parasites leave many bleeding wounds. As they feed on blood, a large parasite burden can lead to impaired growth, anemia, weight loss, poor coat quality, dermatitis and overall decreased health. Hookworms can be transmitted from either ingesting stool of infected dogs or passed from mother to puppy in utero and/or during nursing.

Roundworms
These worms live in the intestines and feed on blood. A large parasite burden can lead to impaired growth, anemia, weight loss, poor coat quality and overall decreased health. Vomiting and diarrhea caused by these worms are a serious issue in puppies that do not have the necessary reserves to combat dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Roundworms can be transmitted from ingesting stool of infected dogs.

Whipworms
Whipworms are approximately 1.5 –7.5 cm long. These parasites burrow into the large intestine and cecum of dogs, causing severe bowel inflammation. Large parasite loads can cause bloody diarrhea and weight loss. The eggs are passed in feces and can live in the environment for years.

Tapeworms
These long worms reside in the intestinal tract. Tapeworms can cause flatulence, vomiting and a dull hair coat. The worm releases tiny segments of egg packets that are often seen as tiny pieces or rice or cucumber seeds on the dog’s hind end. These parasites are contracted by ingesting infected fleas, mice, birds, and rabbits.

Heartworms
Heartworm is a parasite transferred from mosquitoes to our pets. The worms end up in the heart and the major blood vessels. It takes approximately six months for these worms to mature completely. In large numbers, they cause blockages preventing normal blood flow and therefore compromising your pets’ ability to circulate blood throughout their body and provide adequate oxygen and nutrients to the cells. There are not many reported cases in the Maritimes, but the numbers are increasing in New Brunswick and the infected mosquitoes will eventually make there way here. Prevention is key especially when travelling to Western Canada and the United States where prevalence of this disease is much higher. Testing prior to placing a pet on preventive medication is always a good idea. Routine deworming with a heartworm medication is a great way to help prevent heartworm disease.

Always pick up after your pet and deworm on a monthly basis.

Written by Staff of Cobequid Animal Hospital