Parasites in puppies and dogs
Dogs can be host to many parasite types, the most common being fleas, dog heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and tapeworm.
If your dog cannot settle down for long, sleep comfortably or its skin smells bad, you can be sure it has flea problem. Eliminating fleas can be a constant struggle for dog owners. Drugs can be harsh with unwanted side effects, yet a single flea bite can induce an allergic response or cause severe dermatitis. Once bitten, the affected area can become hairless with repeated scratching.
It is also worth checking the dog’s skin for ticks and lice. To do this properly, you need to check the dog’s hairs. The easiest way to do this is by back-combing the coat.
Heartworms are potentially deadly parasites. Infestation from heartworm can go unrecognized allowing the population of worms to grow exponentially in the heart and surrounding ventricles. This can lead to inflammation in the lungs, respiratory difficulties, kidney dysfunction and skin irritation.
The presence of roundworm and whipworm cause anemia, malnutrition and diarrhoea. If you see a dog dragging its rear end along the ground, it’s probably trying to eliminate tapeworm or pinworm.
Hookworm can pass directly through the skin revealing lesions and areas of dermatitis. Evidence of this can be determined when your dog passes loose stools mixed with blood.
Segments of the tapeworm can be seen as rice-like eggs around the rectal area. This is strategic - as your dog licks itself, it will continue to infest itself with the parasite.
The tapeworm head or scolex contains suckers to allow it to affix itself to the dog's intestinal wall. It then feeds itself by absorbing nutrients through its skin that the dog is eating. The presence of tapeworm will constantly rob your dog of nutrients at the same time passing tapeworm onto yourself and others in the house. The best way to prevent tapeworm infections is to minimise flea and lice infestations as they (unknowingly) carry tapeworm eggs.
Animals affected by lungworm have difficulties breathing and experience neurological problems, haemorrhaging, inflammatory reactions and in certain cases, an abrupt death. Lungworm are transmitted through snails and slugs and snails, their slime trails as well as through foxes.
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