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If your pet has contracted tapeworms there's a good chance you won't be able to tell. Commonly, there are no signs of a tapeworm infestation. If you look closely, however, you may notice small, rice-shaped granules around your pet's anus or in his feces—these are tapeworms. It is highly unlikely that this parasite will kill your animal but they can make him uncomfortable. You should have your pet checked for tapeworms regularly just to be safe.
If you find that your pet does in fact have tapeworms, the condition is easily treated with deworming medications. If you find that one of your pets has tapeworms, bring all of your pets in to be tested. Then, talk to your vet about a treatment for ALL of them.
Your cute new puppy is rambunctious and playful as ever—there's no way he could have worms, right? Wrong! Almost every puppy is infected with internal worm parasites that they acquire while still in their mother's uterus (they contract the parasites from their mother's milk).
Roundworms are among the more common intestinal parasites found in dogs (particularly puppies). Roundworms are long, white worms that look a lot like spaghetti. They can reach lengths up to 4 inches and even cause vomiting and diarrhea in some cases. How can you tell if your puppy is infested with these disgusting parasites? They may develop a pot belly and dull coat and may experience weight loss. Deworming puppies is essential for their health.
Hookworms are comparable to vampires — they suck the blood from the puppy, and puppies infected with hookworms are at a high risk of death.
Puppies need red blood cells for growth, but they can bleed to death by hookworms. Is there a way to prevent puppies from contracting hookworms before they are born? Yes, there is.
Deworming dogs that are pregnant everyday throughout the second half of pregnancy and through the nursing period can help prevent infection. Deworming a pregnant dog one time will not protect the litter. Although a unique protocol using Fenbendazole (Panacur ®) has been proven effective in avoiding both the spread of roundworms and hookworms to puppies.
*Talk to your dog's vet about different treatment options if you are planning on breeding your dog.
Does your dog have whipworms? These parasites are virtually invisible and can only be seen under a microscope. Whipworms can cause diarrhea and anemia in some cases. One of the main signs that your dog is infected, however, is scooting. If you see your pet scooting or dragging his rear end along the ground, there's a fair chance he may be infected with whipworms.
Is your dog at risk? Puppies that are kept in dirty environments and dogs who reside in warmer climates are a lot more likely to get whipworms than other dogs. And, to make matters worse, if an infected animal sheds whipworm eggs on grass, the eggs can remain infectious for over a year—even through the cold.
Is your kitty a hunter? Deworming cats regularly is especially recommended for outdoor cats that hunt and therefore might ingest a host carrying worm larvae. What are the warning signs that your cat is infected? For starters, if your cat or kitten vomits up a worm, it is more than likely that it is a roundworm (especially in a kitten).
How can you spot a roundworm? These parasites are long, and resemble spaghetti noodles. Tapeworms, however, are generally flat and segmented. If you are not sure what type of worm you are seeing, bring it to the vet along with your cat for identification. Once your vet has identified the parasite, your cat can be effectively treated.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|