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Parasites Common to Dogs

Parasites can be disastrous to dogs of all sizes and ages. They are largely preventable and most are easily treated. Any veterinarian can make a correct diagnosis from a stool sample in a matter of minutes. Individual pet owners can train themselves to recognize symptoms and even treat their dog on their own. Several of the most common canine parasites are discussed in this article. Heartworms are caused by mosquito bites, so it is important to rid the dog?s living area of them, or at least attempt to control their numbers. Giardia and Coccidia worms are caused by ingestion of feces. Sometimes a dog will eat their own or visit the cat box. If a female dog has these worms and becomes pregnant, her pups will generally be born with them. They can begin treatment safely around three weeks of age and need to be re-dosed once a week until they are 10 weeks old. There are vaccinations available for dogs and they should be administered around the dog?s 10-week birthday. If a dog becomes infected, the warning signs are dragging the rear on the ground, diarrhea, or vomiting white, runny liquid. No matter how infection occurs, treatment must be addressed with a liquid de-wormer immediately and repeated once a month, especially if the dog lives in an unfenced area, as recontamination will usually occur. De-worming medication will cause the worms to break down and be eliminated within 24 hours, usually in diarrhea. Giardia can also be transmitted to humans. Tapeworms are less common in dogs than cats, but are nonetheless, possible. Small, rice-like pellets will be apparent in a dog?s feces or worm segments may be observed clinging to the dog?s anus. Lethargy can result. Again, a liquid de-wormer is the best treatment. Roundworms are a very common canine parasite. It has been estimated approximately 85% of all puppies suffer from this malady at some time during their first two years of growth. Children often get this parasite by touching a pet, then touching their eyes or putting fingers in their mouths without first washing their hands. A vigorous series of treatments will be necessary to rid people or dogs of these worms. Hookworms can be transmitted through feces touching the skin. They will then enter the bloodstream and lungs and begin sucking blood from the host. Symptoms include anemia, bloody diarrhea, and weight loss. A monthly preventive worming medication can help prevent hookworms. As awful as these canine parasites sound, they can be treated. Watch your pet and immediately take action if you see anything unusual. The sooner you help him, the better his recovery will be and soon your friend will be safe, well, and ready to play.

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