Worming is one of the first health issues pet owners need to address. Young animals, including puppies are very susceptible to worm problems. Intestinal worms are parasites that live in the intestines of your pet. These worms, which can grow up to 18cm long, can be deadly to your pet.
In Darwin we see four main types of intestinal worms:
Roundworms cause diarrhoea, vomiting, coughing, blockages in the intestines, pot belly, poor coat condition and painful tummy.
Hookworms cause bloody diarrhoea, iron deficiency and low protein. Further blood loss causes anaemia and can be fatal.
Whipworms cause blood in stools, mucous diarrhoea, poor body condition, severe abdominal pain, fever and vomiting.
Tapeworms cause irritation around the anus (encouraging ‘scooting’), diarrhoea and poor growth. Most tapeworms are transmitted by eating fleas. They can be controlled by regular worming.
There is a less common tapeworm dogs can get from eating lizards and frogs. They become infected with the tapeworm Spirometra (or ‘Zipper worm’), that can cause intestinal upsets and vomiting. Control of this worm may require a higher dose of worming treatment every three months.
Intestinal worms can make your puppy very sick and in some cases (such as hookworms and heavy infestations) are fatal.
Intestinal worms can also cause human health issues, by spreading from your pet to your family. Hookworm larvae can cause skin irritation; roundworm larvae can occasionally infect children and migrate in the body.
Some simple awareness strategies in handling your pet would include:
- Promptly clean up pet faeces
- Keep your pet’s environment clean
- Always dispose of faeces your pet leaves in parks and playgrounds
- Prevent children from playing where the soil may be contaminated
- Practise good hygiene, encourage children to wash their hands regularly
Maintaining a routine worming treatment is crucial for your pets. It reduces the incidence of infection, environmental contamination the risk of people becoming infected.
There are many worming treatments available for the various infections that occur in our pets. They are available as tablets, spot-ons, or pastes. Re-infection is a common problem, particularly in pets that are in contact with a heavily contaminated environment.
In the Darwin Tropics, puppies require an intestinal all-wormer every week from one/two weeks of age until they are four months old. After four months of age, use intestinal all-wormer monthly (perhaps every three months in the dry).
For dogs that eat lizards and frogs a high dose of tape worming treatment is recommended every three months. We can advise you.