Parasite Management - Article By Cottonwoods


  After reading this page, you can visit our other 'prevention' pages, by using the links below


At Cottonwoods we use a product called liquid heartworm preventative. It is a liquid that is mixed by our vet, containing Bovine Ivermectrin. It is administered monthly in food according to the animals weight. It is recommended not to give directly into the mouth as it causes the animal to salivate and does not apparently "taste" good, mixing with canned dog food works well. (some wolfdog owners say their animals love the stuff - not mine)

Before starting this type of program, have your animal tested for heartworm & be sure to let your vet know if your animal is part Collie! Collie's and a few other breeds cannot tolerate Ivomectin.

I have heard wolfdog owners say they mix a dosage themselves, or use straight cattle Ivermectrin,  if you choose to do this, please DO NOT use the Ivermectrin Plus.

This product covers Heartworms, Round worms, Hook worms, and Whip worms. It also is SAID to aid in the control of fleas, ticks, and mange. It does not cover tape worms, but you can "see" tape worms in the stool.

Another thing to use is Strongid-T along with a heartworm preventative. This is also given monthly according to weight and can be given directly into the mouth. (Seems to taste great)

A dose of Drontel, given usually around January (before breeding season) might be a good idea. This is a pill and is the only thing I know of that gets rid of ALL worms (with the exception of Heartworms). It is very expensive but worth the money.

Most parasites are caused by fleas. You can aid in prevention by administering products like Frontline.

Since many intestinal parasites may be transmitted by oral-fecal contact, sanitation is a key part of control. Keep your pet's living quarters as free of feces as possible to reduce the chances of infection. Remove dog feces from back yards at least weekly.

If any information contained here in is considered to be inaccurate, by all means please let me know.

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Some Information About Internal Parasites

Early diagnosis of the presence and species of intestinal parasite is important, for not all worms respond to the same treatment. Therefore, stool samples should be taken to the veterinarian for microscopic examination if worms are suspected. Many veterinarians include the stool check as part of the annual health examination.

Most worm infestations cause any or all of these symptoms: diarrhea, perhaps with blood in the stool; weight loss; dry hair; general poor appearance; and vomiting, perhaps with worms in the vomitus. However, some infestations cause few or no symptoms; in fact some worm eggs or larvae can be dormant in the dog's body and activated only in times of stress, or in the case of roundworms, until the latter stages of pregnancy, when they activate and infest the soon-to-be-born puppies.

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One of the most commonly seen intestinal parasites in dogs is Roundworms (Toxocara canis). Roundworms do not typically infest adults, and adult dogs do not usually show signs other than listed above. Dogs become infected by ingesting worm eggs from contaminated soil. The eggs hatch in the intestine and the resulting larva are carried to the lungs by the bloodstream. The larva then crawls up the windpipe and gets swallowed, often causing the pup to cough or gag. Once the larvae return to the intestine, they grow into adults. Roundworms remain in the body tissues as "second stage somatic larvae." If these second stage somatic larvae encyst in a female and she gets pregnant, transplacental infection of the fetus will occur during the last stages of pregnancy while still in their mother's uterus to infest puppies. Pups can also get roundworm through mother's milk. This explains why, in some areas, up to 95% of puppies are born with infections of Toxocara canis. Nearly every puppy that is born with roundworms contracted from its mother. Roundworms are active in the intestines of puppies, often causing a pot-bellied appearance and poor growth (also a rough hair coat). A severe infestation can cause death by intestinal blockage. Worming the bitch has no effect on the encysted larvae and cannot prevent the worms from infecting the puppies.

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Hookworms (Ancylostoma, Uncinaria spp.) Are another common pet invader. The males and females mate, and the female produces eggs that are passed in the feces. About two days after passage the hookworm egg hatches, and the juvenile worm (or larva) develops into an infective stage in about five days. The next host is infected when an infective larva penetrates the host's skin, are ingested in the larval form, or in the case of a puppy are passed through the mother's placenta or milk. The juvenile worm migrates through the host's body and finally They attach to the animal's small intestine where it grows to sexual maturity. Hookworms are blood feeders and the mouthparts of hookworms have teeth. Attachment causes hemorrhages and leave bleeding sores. Hookworm disease can have devastating effects due to the loss of excessive amounts of blood. Hookworms may cause anemia and black feces in your pet. A severe hookworm infestation can cause enough damage to kill puppies, but chronic hookworm infection is usually not a problem in the older dog.

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There are two common types of Tapeworm in pets. One type, Dipylidium caninum is spread when the perianal region of the dog becomes contaminated with eggs when eggs are passed in the feces, and the flea ingests the eggs. The dog is infected when they ingest an infected flea. Hence the importance of controlling fleas on your pet! The other type, Taenia, is spread when the animal eats wildlife infested. Both types of tapeworms produce proglottids (often referred to incorrectly as "segments") that are shed from the tapeworm, they pass out of the animal's rectum. They are flat and move about shortly after excretion. When dry, the Dipylidium caninum segments look like "cucumber seeds", and the Taenia segments look like "rice grains." These egg packets may be seen on the pet's anal area and in their bedding. Though tapeworms don't cause physical damage like hookworms, they do compete with the pet for the nutritional value of its food, causing an unthrifty appearance and rough hair coat. Tapeworms cannot be killed by the typical over-the-counter wormer.

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Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis) The eggs are passed in the host's feces but are not infective until about three weeks after being passed. When an infective egg is eaten by the appropriate host it hatches in the small intestine. The juvenile worm migrates and attaches to the large intestine or cecum (a blind sack where the small and large intestine join) their anterior ends embed in the cells that line the intestine. There it reaches sexual maturity. The worms live a long time and a animal can be re infected constantly. This worm may cause chronic diarrhea with red blood in the stool, anemia and a general unfit appearance in dogs. Occasionally adult whipworms can be seen in the stool when the infestation has already caused some debilitation or weight loss in the dog. They look like pieces of thread with one end enlarged. Infestations are usually light, so an examination of feces may not reveal the presence of eggs.

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Dirofilaria immitis, commonly known as Heartworm, is a potentially lethal internal parasite in pets. Mosquitoes infect pets by biting them. The larval form of the heartworm migrates in the pet's body for about six months and finally stops in the heart when the worm becomes an adult. Your veterinarian must draw a blood sample and test it to detect the presence of heartworm. The animal usually doesn't show signs of infection until late in the disease process. Inflammation and thickening of the heart result in symptoms such as respiratory insufficiency, a dry chronic nonproductive cough, and vomiting. The animal may tire easily even if only given light exercise and the disease can be fatal. Treatment of heartworm disease is available, but it is risky.

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Ringworm is not a worm at all, but a fungal infection of the skin. It can be difficult to diagnose in animals, as the lesions do not look the same from case to case. Some animals, especially cats, can carry the fungus in their hair coat without showing signs of itching, scaly skin, and hair loss. In people, the classic lesion is a raised, reddened, and itchy "ring." *Ringworm will glow under a blacklight

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More To Watch Out For

Sarcoptic Mange or scabies is another condition in dogs. This mite burrows under the skin, and causes severe itching, scabs, and hair loss. In extreme cases, the dog may even have a generalized illness. Skin scrapings to find and identify the mite are often negative. In humans, a pinpoint red rash is often found on the chest and abdomen. Treatment in dogs includes multiple dips to kill the mites, and medications for itching and secondary infections. A new injectable drug, Ivermectrin, can be used to treat mange, although it is not yet approved for this use, and should not be used in Collie dogs. *Another type of mange is Red Mange or Demodectic Mange.

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Coccidiosis often referred to as the "coccidia." Some species cause diseases that result in mild symptoms that might go unnoticed (i.e., mild diarrhea) and eventually disappear, while other species cause highly virulent infections that are rapidly fatal. A host is infected when it ingests oocysts that have been passed in the feces of another host. The oocyst excysts in the host's small intestine, it can result in destruction of massive numbers of cells in the host and, ultimately, lead to death.

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Giardiasis AKA Giardia Lives in the small intestine of the host. Cysts, which are resistant to adverse environmental conditions, are passed in the feces of an infected host, and the next host is infected when it ingests cysts in food or water contaminated with feces. It adheres closely to the lining of the intestine, and in heavy infections much of the lining of the small intestine can be covered with trophozoites. The symptoms associated with giardiasis range from none (in light infections) to severe, chronic diarrhea (in heavy infections) Some authorities believe that Giardia infects a number animals particularly beavers, and that animals contract giardiasis from drinking stream water contaminated with cysts from beavers. Although mountain streams may appear to be "sparkling clean," some contaminated host upstream may be using your animals drinking water as a toilet!

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bloody and/or dark diarrhea,
improper or reduced absorption of nutrients and weight loss, anemia,
listlessness, dehydration and apparent weakness

                              information obtained and used with permission from
Dr. Peter W. Pappas, Professor and Chairperson
Department of Zoology, The Ohio State University
1735 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210-1293
Phone: 614-292-8088; FAX: 614-292-2030

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