Every pet parent has probably heard their vet drone on and on about why it is essential to deworm their pets. Being a vet myself, I can testify that sometimes my words are met with an eye roll. But people do need to learn that making sure your pet is not weighed down with worm-load could improve their quality of life dramatically!
Dogs are curious creatures, much to the delight and chagrin of their owners. They are not beyond nosing where they should not be and eating things that are definitely not good for them. Meal times, walks, playtime: every day, they are exposed to potential sources of gastrointestinal worms. We humans also track in these worms through our shoes, clothes and bags when we come home from school or work every day.
Curiosity can sometimes prove dangerous! (Image Courtesy- Shanta Giddens-Shutterstock)
Gastrointestinal parasites tend to attach themselves to the inner lining (mucosa) of the small and large intestines and they absorb the nutrition that is meant for the body. They use hooks or other appendages to keep themselves attached, which in the long run might cause severe trauma to the intestinal lining. The tell-tale sign of an internal worm infestation is when your dog begins scooching i.e. dragging his or her butt across the ground. Other signs include a normal to increased appetite with no correlating gain in weight, passing worms (which may have a flat rice-like appearance or long twisty noodle-like appearance) in stools, passing blood in stools, anal gland infections, recurrent vomiting, and generalized loss of condition. An unchecked infestation in younger pups can even cause death.
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, consult a vet. (Image Courtesy- ESB Professional-Shutterstock)
Fortunately, deworming is one of the easiest sorts of medication to administer and can be easily disguised in a treat that your dog will find appealing. When a pup is growing, as a pet parent, you should be vigilant to deworm them as often as every month in the first three months. This interval can be increased to three months until your pet turns a year old. Adult dogs need to be dewormed only once every six months unless of course, they demonstrate signs of suffering from a worm infestation.
One thing that you would need to keep in mind is to frequently change the kind of drug in order to prevent the organisms from becoming immune to the medication. The most commonly used deworming medications today are a combination of praziquantel and pyrantel, and a combination of albendazole and oral ivermectin. The latter also happens to be effective against external parasites and hastens the healing of skin issues caused by mites. Speak to your dog’s vets when deworming time rolls around for which drug suits his/her the best. And this goes without saying, but be more vigilant during playtime or on walks, and don’t let your dogs eat anything nasty like cattle dung or other animals’ poop.
When it comes to deworming, precaution is definitely better, easier, and infinitely more inexpensive than a cure -- so fulfil your responsibility towards your pet and routinely deworm them!