It is commonly believed that regular treatment for intestinal worms is essential, not only in caring for the health of your pet, but also to protect your family from the human health risks associated with some worms. Puppy droppings are best disposed of carefully.
The four major intestinal worms that infect dogs are: roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. These worms mainly affect puppies and young dogs. Hookworms are the most dangerous of the intestinal worms.
Traditionally puppies have been wormed every two weeks until they were three months old, then monthly from three to six months of age. After six months of age worming every three months was adequate.
There is a variety of suitable products available. Your puppy has been wormed with Drontal suspension while in our care.
While we promote "natural" care of our dogs, we are yet to see conclusive testing to support natural preventatives/treatments for worms. In the future we will likely run some controlled tests of our own.
It is important to stress that if you do experiment with natural preventatives and treatments, it is essential to have faecal egg counts before you start the treatment and periodically after to ensure effectiveness.
Producing a strong immune system through raw feeding will make your canine a less attractive host for parasites. It's likely you won't see any signs of worm infestation. Worms have been around as long as dogs. Both species coexist in nature. The relentless treadmill of chemical worming may actually not be in your dog's best interest. High worm burden usually says something about the health of the dog rather than the anything about the parasites.
There is one school of thought, that a happy balance of exposure to parasites is actually good for your dog's health and attempting to completely eradicate them may not be in the dog's best interest at all. They believe that puppies given toxic de-wormers as early as two or three weeks, don't get the exposure to parasites which could make their developing immune system stronger. These frequently chemically de-wormed puppies have been shown to grow into dogs that are more inclined to suffer from skin allergies.
Using wormers routinely as a precautionary measure may NOT be good practice. The wormers are believed to burdening the liver, stress the animal’s health, weaken the body’s immune system and intestinal system making them even more vulnerable to parasitic infestation and a vicious cycle results.
Ironically, the issue of resistance has led to an increased use of de-wormers and the rotation of different products is simply making the problem worse. All dogs, all animals for that matter, are exposed to worms often, and it is a misconception that all dogs have a problem with worms or have the same worm load. For many, the worm burden may be normal and minimal; actually strengthening the immune system and creating a healthy balance in the gut.
Given that de-worming is now routine practice with many breeders and pet owners, without first doing a fecal worm test, most dogs are given harmful chemicals unnecessarily simply because it is that time of the year, month, week etc.
The best defense against parasitic overload is a healthy immune system, encouraged by focusing our attention, in a whole dog approach, with its foundation in a species appropriate diet, providing as natural an environment as possible – including: exercise, water, sunshine, moderation, good air quality and rest. Time on the dirst and grass will also reduce stress. Once we get these things right, our dogs can start to help themselves and better keep the healthy checks and balances with their pests and/or parasite load.
Reducing toxins can also be beneficial. This includes (where appropriate or possible: vaccines, antibiotics, chemical de-wormers, household and/or lawn and garden chemicals, stress, meats that aren’t organically grown, processed foods, treats, etc.
Faecal egg count.
Carrying out regular faecal egg counts for the first 4 – 6 months with a new puppy/dog, just to get a true picture of what any specific dog’s worm levels actually are, is a wise idea. You can then best assess how to deal with a problem if there is a high count. Faecal egg counts determine the number of eggs per gram (EPG) in the faeces and determine if the dog is carrying a low (under 250 EPG), moderate (250-650 EPG) or high (650+ EPG) worm burden. Each puppy/dog may be different and if carrying a very high worm load and showing signs of ill-health, you may want to consider using remedies to lessen the load. Also, please know that just because one dog has a high count, it doesn’t mean the others do as well.
Protozoa - single celled microscopic organisms
Protozoa are another group of parasites worth mentioning. There are two common ones:
Giardia is a protozoan with a hair-like tail which lives in the intestine.
Faeces contaminated water is the most common method of contraction.
Some dogs develop chronic, intermittent diarrhoea, while others show no signs of infection. The symptoms are usually more severe in puppies.
Coccidia are also protozoans that live in the intestinal walls. Coccidiosis can be quite common in puppies.
While adult dogs don’t show symptoms, they can spread the infection through their faeces, which contaminates the soil.
Coccidiosis can cause serious diarrhoea in young puppies and may even cause death (dehydration and malnourishment).