July 28, 2008
Tyson, our 5-year old German Shepherd, startled my Dad one morning. He was lying flat on the ground, looking ill. He had diarrhea and wouldn’t eat.
My Dad got worried so he quickly took our dog to the veterinarian for a check-up. The vet performed a test on a stool sample from Tyson and what he found was alarming! Our poor dog was infested with worms.
Most dog worms are parasites that reside in a dog’s intestines. They can cause adverse effects on the animal’s health and it is important that you know enough about dog worms in order to protect your dog.
Types of Dog Worms
The most common types of worms that can infect dogs are: roundworms; hookworms; whipworms; and tapeworms.
Roundworms stay in the small intestine and they feed on the tissues and bodily fluids of dogs. There are two kinds of roundworms: Toxocara canis (which can grow to 10-18 cm long) and Toxascaris leonina (which can grow to 6-10 cm long). Between the two, Toxocara canis is more dangerous because it can cause fatal infections in puppies and its larvae can also cause disease in humans.
Like roundworms, hookworms live in the small intestine of dogs. Despite their small size (5 to 16 mm long), hookworms are potentially fatal because they voraciously feed on blood from the intestinal wall. They can cause severe blood loss, especially in puppies, which can lead to anemia and/or death within a short period of time.
Adult whipworms, as their name suggests, are shaped like whips and they can grow to 4-7 mm long. They live in the large intestine and the appendix of a dog. Whipworms feed on tissue secretions but due to their feeding and burrowing activities, they can also cause significant blood loss.
Tapeworms are flat in appearance. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the most common tapeworm in dogs is the flea tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum, which can grow to 15- 70 cm long. Dogs usually catch this parasite from fleas. This and other types of tapeworms can also infect humans.
Once the vet identified the worms infecting Tyson’s body, he recommended that Tyson be put on worming medication for treatment.
There is currently a wide range of worming medications pet owners can choose from in the market. Depending on the active ingredients contained in each medication, they can treat and protect the dog from specific parasites. Worming medications like Drontal Plus, which contains a combination of pyrantel, febantel and praziquantel can get rid of roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms simultaneously. If a dog is infected with tapeworms, worming medications that contain praziquantel (Droncit and Pet Shed’s Generic Tapeworm alternative) can treat the pet for these parasites. Meanwhile, treatments that have milbemycin or a combination of ivermectin and pyrantel can kill some intestinal parasites and also heartworms. Examples are Sentinel, Interceptor, and Heartgard Plus.
Protection against Worms
After a period of treatment, Tyson was able to fully recover. Since then, Dad has always made sure that Tyson is free from worms through regular worming (maintenance and prevention), once every three months. Today, he is a picture of a healthy and active dog, no longer suffering from the problems caused by intestinal parasites.
Like what happened to Tyson and my Dad, you can also help protect your dog from worms. How about you, what do you use to treat worms in your dog?
Worming products today are practical. They make the task of worm control easier for dog owners. These medications offer useful solutions on how to eliminate internal parasites safely and effectively. They come in tablets, spot-ons, liquid suspensions and pastes. They are also available either as prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Regardless of their types, though, each dog wormer contains different active ingredients that kill specific parasites ¿ the most common of which are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. Based on a particular ingredient of dog wormers, some can treat only a certain kind of worm, while others can treat various kinds.
Choosing Worming Products
Depending on the parasite that is infecting your dog, pet owners like you can choose between dog wormers that kill a specific type of worm and those that are effective against many types.
Worming Products which contain only the active ingredient praziquantel just kill tapeworms. They do not have any effect on other parasites. Examples of these are Droncit and the Generic Tapeworm alternative from Pet Shed.
On the other hand, dog wormers that contain a combination of at least two or three active ingredients can get rid of a wide range of parasites, hence they are described as ¿broad-spectrum¿. For example, the pyrantel, febantel and praziquantel of Drontal Plus can kill roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. There are also some medicines which are mainly intended to prevent heartworms and fleas that provide extra protection against intestinal worms. For example, Heartgard Plus, which contains ivermectin and pyrantel, not only controls heartworms, but roundworms and hookworms as well. Another broad-spectrum product like Sentinel contains a combination of milbemycin oxime and lufenuron, which not only controls roundworms, whipworms, and some hookworms but also prevents heartworms and fleas. Getting rid of fleas is also important in fighting worms because they are carriers of tapeworms.
Ensuring Full Protection
If you¿re thinking of protecting your dog from a wide range of parasites, it would be a good idea to use broad-spectrum worming products. These provide protection not only against intestinal worms, but may also protect against dangerous heartworms. Doing this is like hitting two birds, or many birds (this is perhaps the better term) with one stone. This means there is no need to buy separate products for each type of treatment, which translates to more savings for you.
Finally, if you are planning to deworm your dog soon, always consider the kind of worming products you will use to treat the internal parasites in your pet. Do not just pick anything at random. Take note of their effectiveness and which products work best for your dog and prove to be easy on your budget as well.
Have you used wormers for your dog? If you have, which ones have you found effective in your pet?