Worms & Your Dog
Dogs can easily pick up worms without the owner even realising – it is important that these parasites are not ignored simply because you do not realise your animal has become infected. The most common types of worm to affect dogs in the UK are roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and whipworm. These species of worm not only cause issues for pets, they can also pass disease to humans so it is vital they do not go untreated with a suitable dog wormer.
There are a number of licensed treatments available for dogs ranging from tablets which can be bought off the shelf, to treatments which are prescribed by Pharmacists, Vets or SQP’s. The most common form of treatment for worms in dogs are tablets. There are many brands available including Drontal Dog Wormer, Easimax Dog Wormer, Veloxa etc. Generally the licensed dog wormers will treat roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm but always consult your vet, pharmacist or SQP when purchasing to ensure that the product covers all common worms.
Treatments which combat these common worms typically contain a combination of active ingredients, namely; pyrantel, febantel and praziquantel. These ingredients target, kill and breakdown the worms which will then be passed out in the animals faeces.
Dogs pick up worm infestations by consuming fleas (tapeworm) during their normal grooming routine, roundworm are generally contracted by ingesting worm eggs or larvae from the environment. Puppies can even contract worms from their mother and can in some cases be born already infected. The only way to ensure that puppies are born worm free is to treat the mother from day 40 of her pregnancy, each day until 2 days post Whelping with Panacur at a rate of 1ml per 4kg of bodyweight.
Worms, once ingested will breed and reproduce inside the animal – a female roundworm can lay up to 85,000 eggs per day and often dogs will show no obvious outward sign of worm infestation. In some cases worms can cause lethargy, diarrhoea, weight loss and vomiting.
In order to protect your pet as well as well as your family the recommended minimum treatment interval is 3 months. However, treatment may be required more frequently – for example if your dog has had a flea infestation, or is a scavenger or has regular contact with young children.
Puppies require worming with a suitable puppy wormer more frequently to ensure good health. When using Drontal Puppy Liquid, puppies should be treated every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old. When using Panacur 10% Solution puppies should be treated at 2 weeks, 5 weeks and 8 weeks for a period of 3 days at a dose rate of 1ml per 2kg bodyweight. As puppies can be infected with worms from their mother it is important to worm the bitch at the same time the puppies are wormed at the standard adult dose rate.
Unfortunately it is impossible to prevent your pet becoming infected with worms – the best course of action is to treat regularly with a licensed medicine to get rid of any infection they may have picked up.
To help reduce the prevalence of worms in the environment the best way is to be a responsible pet owner and clear up your pets faeces. As a single roundworm can produce 85,000 eggs in a single day, all of which will be passed out in the faeces, by removing these from the environment where other dogs may become infected you effectively reduce the risk of your own pet becoming re-infected.