Snakes in the Grass - deworming pets

No not real snakes but trouble none the less ....... with Summer on the way worm larvae will be hatching out onto the grass.

Worm eggs, in particular those of the HOOKWORM, can lie dormant in the environment for up to 10 years. As the weather becomes warmer and moister the larvae hatch out onto the grass. Our pets (dogs and cats) will inadvertently eat or lick them off the grass, their paws and fur and swallow them. Hookworm larvae can also burrow into your pets paws causing inflamed and sore skin between their toes. Our feet are not safe either as the larvae can burrow into our soles causing immense irritation and it is usually children running barefoot in the garden that are affected. Children playing in sand or soil containing eggs can also be infected with worms by ingesting the eggs.

Those hookworm larvae that are swallowed grow into adults which hook into the lining of the intestines and suck blood. This causes abdominal pain and diarrhoea. As well as sucking blood, the bite sites in the intestine can continue to seep blood which results in anaemia and even death but also symptoms such as weight loss, pot belly and lethargy.

However, hookworms are not the only worms our pets will be carrying around. ROUNDWORMS, WHIPWORM AND TAPEWORM can all be the cause of abdominal pain, diarrhoea and anaemia.

Roundworm larvae may also migrate through the lungs causing coughing in puppies. The worms are visible when they are vomited or coughed up. Puppies can be infected with roundworms whilst still in utero or through their mother's milk. Older dogs pick up eggs from the environment or from eating rodents, lizards, birds, earthworms or fleas that have been infected with the eggs.

Fleas are the intermediate host of tapeworms. So if your pet has fleas and accidentally swallows a flea whilst grooming themselves they will become infested with tapeworms. Tapeworms cause anaemia and constipation in puppies and kittens. When mature, the segments break off the tapeworm, become mobile and crawl out of the anus causing irritation and scooting. These segments look like rice grains stuck to the fur.

Prevention of worm infestations involves picking up stools as soon as possible to reduce the egg load in the environment, prevent your pet from eating possible intermediate hosts. This is a little difficult when it comes to cats catching lizards and rodents, however, if you ensure your pet is free of fleas then the chance of tapeworm infestation is reduced. Products to consider using to maintain flea free pets are BRAVECTO and NEXGARD in dogs, BRAVECTO SPOT-ON, ADVOCATE and REVOLUTION in cats to name just a few.

Treatment can start with the pregnant bitch. She should be dewormed 10 days before giving birth. The puppies must start being dewormed from 2 weeks of age and be done every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old. After that it is advisable to deworm every 3 months. Products that are safe to use for all these life stages are TRIWORM D, DRONTAL and ANTEZOLE. They also cover all the worms discussed. To keep your cat dewormed regularly, you can choose from TRIWORM C, DRONTAL and ANTEZOLE.

A fairly new kid on the block in the worm world is SPIRA CERCA. It is not really a new worm but one that has become more widespread and thus important to control. Again eggs in the environment are taken in by the intermediate host, the dung beetle, the beetle becomes infected. Dogs are directly infected when they eat the beetle or the beetle is eaten by birds, poultry, rodents, lizards and rabbits, so when dogs eat any of these creatures they then become infected. It has also been suggested that dogs become infected by eating Hadidah poop but this has not been proved.

Once in the dogs' stomach the larvae burrow through the stomach wall and make their way to the aorta in the chest. They cause weakening of the wall of the aorta which can result in aneurysms forming. These can burst resulting in death of the dog. From the aorta they migrate to the lining of the oesophagus where they live in nodules that form around them. The adult worms lay eggs that are then swallowed and pooped out. The nodules in the oesophagus can get very large or even become cancerous and cause difficulty in swallowing. Dogs may also vomit, cough and lose weight.

Prevention is most certainly better than cure and the product of choice to use on a monthly basis is MILBEMAX.

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