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French Bulldogs ~ Intestinal Parasites

What are Intestinal Parasites?

In a word, intestinal parasites are worms. They live in your dog's body, growing to adulthood in the intestinal tract.

Each follows its own life cycle, but there are commonalities in how they are contracted:

* The ingestion of feces

* The ingestion of raw meat or animal remains in the environment

* The ingestion of infected soil

Some intestinal parasite eggs are incredibly resistant to environmental changes and can remain dormant in the soil for several years before infecting your dog or a member of your family. In some cases, intestinal parasites can be passed from a pregnant or nursing mother to her puppies, which is why most veterinarians recommend worming puppies shortly after birth and for several months afterwards.

Good cleanliness as well as common sense is the greatest option to stop the dogs from getting parasites inside them. Keep feces picked up outdoors on your own lawn, and stop your canine from eating other dog's feces. Restrict your dog from drinking drinking water in contaminated creeks, or perhaps water that is stagnant in small pools. Practice adequate flea control to maximum the likelihood of tapeworms, and also make sure your own dog has a hygienic, un-crowded environment to decrease the chances of developing coccidia.

Four of the common types of intestinal parasites in dogs are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and Tapeworms.

Roundworm Infection

Most dogs have roundworms (Toxocara canis, cati or leonina)at some time in their life.

Dogs can become infected with roundworm by ingesting infective eggs from a contaminated environment or ingesting larvae in tissues of other animals. Disease in dogs caused by infection with roundworm is most severe in young pups. Puppies can become infected before birth, or when suckling, and these infections are associated with failure to gain weight, and a poor hair coat; a pot-bellied appearance is also commonly observed. Severe infections in neonatal pups can result in acute death at a few days of age.

These worms can be passed to puppies while they are in the uterus and while they are nursing. Eggs that are passed can develop into larvae that are capable of directly infecting another dog.

The eggs may also infect an intermediate host, such as earthworms, mice, rats and moles and then when this creature is eaten by the dog develop into adult roundworms in the dog.

Roundworms have a strange life cycle, migrating out of the intestine and into the lungs (and other organs) before returning to the intestines. Once infected, a dog may pass millions of worm eggs in the stool. The eggs can live for several months in the environment. They are sensitive to ultraviolet light, so pens which are exposed to direct sunlight do not support the life cycle of the worm as well as more protected pens.

Roundworm eggs can be killed by using aqueous iodine solution (Clinics of North America, November 1987) but are not killed by chlorine bleach, although it is supposed to remove the sticky outer coating of the worm, making it easier to cleanse them from infected areas.

If your adult dogs are on heartworm prevention medications there is a good chance that they are being dewormed with a medication that can kill roundworms on a monthly basis, which should be sufficient to prevent any real worry over them getting infected, especially since dogs become more resistant to infection with roundworms as they get older.

Cleaning up stools daily prevents the spread of the eggs pretty efficiently and is a good practice to prevent infections.

Hookworm Infection

Hookworms (Ancylcostoma or Uncinaria) are less common than roundworms but are still a major problem in southern areas of the U.S. (Ancyclostoma) and not too uncommon in the more northern areas (Ancyclostoma and Uncinaria).

Dogs can become infected with hookworms by ingestion of hookworm larvae from a contaminated environment, larval penetration of the skin (rolling in infected soil or animal remains), and/or ingesting larvae in tissues of other animals (raw or under cooked meat). Hookworm infection is associated with anaemia, haemorrhagic enteritis, diarrhea and death in serious cases.

Hookworms eggs develop into larvae which can pass through the skin or be ingested and cause infection. The eggs and larvae are susceptible to sunlight and drying. There used to be a product sold that would treat infected dirt pens and kill the hookworm eggs but I have not seen it for at least ten years.

The heartworm prevention medications Heartgard Plus (tm), Revolution (tm) and Interceptor (tm) kill hookworms, so dogs on these preventative medications are also being treated for hookworms monthly, which should be sufficient to prevent problems with them, as well.

If you are not in a heartworm area monitoring stool samples every few months and treating if you find evidence of infection should be sufficient to prevent major problems from these worms. Cleaning up the stools daily also helps to prevent the spread of hookworms.

I do not know how long hookworm larvae live in the environment, but I think they are not as hardy as roundworm eggs and larvae. There is no intermediate host to worry about, either.

Whipworm Infection

Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis in dogs) has the most environmentally resistant eggs of all the worms.

Dogs can become infected with whipworms by ingesting whipworm eggs from a contaminated environment. Many whipworm infections are asymptomatic, but can result in bloody diarrhoea, weight loss, dehydration and, in severe cases, death.

The eggs of this worm can live for longer than a year in the environment. They are susceptible to drying and sunlight. The Clinics of North America issue recommends treating concrete pens with a horticultural flame gun to kill the eggs, which I suppose might work on dirt, as well.

This worm is killed by milbemycin, the ingredient in Interceptor (Rx) heartworm prevention but is not killed by the other monthly preventative medications. Therefore, it is more important to monitor fecal samples for evidence of the worm. The time from infection to the appearance of worm eggs in the stool is over two months, though -- so it can take awhile to know if this worm will become a problem when there is potential contamination of the soil.

Whipworms are harder to kill than roundworms and hookworms (or at least fewer medications do it successfully).

We use fenbendazole (Panacur Rx) for whipworm therapy but there are other medications that will work. Your vet will have one that he or she likes to use.

Tapeworms

are usually acquired by eating infected fleas (Dipylidium caninum) or small rodents or rabbits (Taenia species). Good flea control eliminates most problems with tapeworms except in dogs who are allowed to run free or to hunt small animals at times.

What we use to treat our dogs and puppies:

Panacur Small Animal 10% A white oral suspension of fenbendazole as a ready to administer oral anthelmintic for domestic dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. 1ml contains 100mg active ingredient fenbendazole. Uses: A broad spectrum anthelmintic for the treatment of domestic dogs and cats infected with immature and mature stages of nematodes of the gastro-intestinal and respiratory tracts.

What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm infection is acquired by a dog through the bite of an infected mosquito. The parasite penetrates the tissue of an infected dog then migrates to the dog's bloodstream from which it enters the heart and lungs.

Risks of heartworm disease

Heartworm disease harms your dog

Heartworm disease is transmitted from dog to dog through mosquitoes. It can affect dogs throughout Australia and can be fatal if left untreated. Clinical signs can include coughing, sluggishness and difficulty breathing, though some dogs might show no outward, clinical signs at all.

Over time, however, damage to your dog's heart and lungs can be severe.

It can result in:

* Reduced cardiac output

* Thickening of pulmonary blood vessels

* Heart valve malfunction

* Heart enlargement and failure

Moreover, heartworms can live in an infected dog for 5 to 7 years1! During all that time, the worms are living, breeding, and dying. And your dog's body has to fight the effects of the damage they do. Panoramis- (spinosad + milbemycin oxime) kills heartworms before they develop into adulthood.

Heartworms and humans

Although rare, heartworms can occasionally infect humans, too. You cannot, however, catch the disease directly from your dog.

Human dirofilariasis results in nodular inflammation of the lungs. Infections have also been recorded in the eye, skin, testicles, and elsewhere.

Coccidia

is a worm like microscopic intestinal parasite which commonly causes diarrhea in pups, but can affect older canines alongside compromised resistant systems. Coccidia is distribute from dog to dog through eggs in the stool, contaminating water and additionally environment. Some dogs can have a small quantity of coccidia in their intestinal tract, however the organism flourishes if the pup is below stress (for example overcrowded, unsanitary conditions), leading to diarrhea. Coccidia can feel diagnosed with a veterinary microscopic fecal flotation, and ought to be suspected in any dog alongside diarrhea that doesn't reply to traditional roundworm treatment.

Giardia

is a water borne intestinal parasite which a lot more commonly affects adult canines causing diarrhea; it is sometimes known since 'beaver fever'. Giardia gets into water via contamination by wild animals (for example beavers) and additionally afflicted canines. The giardia cysts increase in the intestinal tract, leading to the indicators of diarrhea alongside blood or mucous inside the stool. It is a really difficult parasite to diagnose in veterinary practice, so many clinicians might just treat your canine because of it by way of a traditional anti-giardia drugs.