LUV My dogs: diarrhea

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Showing posts with label diarrhea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diarrhea. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Reasons Your Dog Has Diarrhea

Reasons Your Dog Has Diarrhea
Dog diarrhea is caused by a number of factors, ranging from simple digestive issues to serious illnesses. It is common health condition characterized by loose bowel movements and abdominal pains.
While most cases are mild and easily treated at home with natural remedies, others could be a sign of more serious problems.
Diarrhea that develops suddenly in an otherwise healthy dog is often due to scavenging behavior, stress, a sudden change in diet, or viral, bacterial or parasitic infections.
More chronic diarrhea can be caused by dietary allergies or intolerances, stress, some types of parasites , bacterial infections, pancreatic disease, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, some types of cancer, and diseases outside of the gastrointestinal tract. 

1. Dietary indiscretion
The most common cause of diarrhea in dogs is what veterinarians call dietary indiscretion. This means that the dog has eaten something other than normal dog food. Leftovers, food that is partly rotten, grease from the barbecue grill, and more: many dogs love to get into and eat what they shouldn’t, and it often leaves them with diarrhea.
There’s actually a name for it in veterinary circles—“garbage toxicosis” or “garbage gut.”

2. Change in diet
Dogs that experience a quick change in diet often develop diarrhea (and sometimes vomiting). This happens commonly when people feel that their dog is bored with a certain diet or when they introduce new treats. If a dog’s diet needs to be changed, it should always be done gradually so as not to induce gastrointestinal upset.

It may take a few days for a dog’s digestive system to adapt to new proteins. That’s why many dog-food manufacturers recommend that you go slow when you switch from one brand of food to another.

3. Food intolerance
Food intolerances, sensitivities, and allergies may cause diarrhea in dogs. Skin involvement, such as scratching, redness, and hair loss is also commonly seen in association with these conditions. One example of a food intolerance is that many dogs are lactose intolerant and develop diarrhea when given milk products.

4. Parasites
Parasites are frequently diagnosed in dogs with diarrhea, especially puppies. Hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms are all parasites that cause dog diarrhea. Coccidia and giardia are single-celled organisms that are common causes of diarrhea in dogs as well.

5. Swallowing an indigestible foreign body, like a toy or a dozen or more socks
If a dog ingests something that isn’t edible, it is called a foreign body, and this can cause diarrhea (and often vomiting and decreased appetite). A foreign body may be a ball, stick, rock, toy, cloth, or any other non-food object that a dog may eat.

6. Infections with common viruses 
Viral infections of the gastrointestinal system can cause diarrhea in dogs. The most common of these are parvovirus, distemper virus, and coronavirus. These illnesses are all more common in very young puppies or, in the cases of parvovirus and distemper, unvaccinated dogs.

7. Bacterial infections
Salmonella, E.coli, Clostridia, and Campylobacter are among the most common of the bacteria that cause intestinal infections and diarrhea in dogs. They are most often diagnosed in very young dogs and those that have conditions that cause immunosuppression. Dogs on raw food diets may be more susceptible to bacterial infections than other dogs, as well.

8. Pancreatitis
Inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, causes diarrhea in many dogs that suffer from it. This condition often causes vomiting and lack of appetite. Pancreatitis is commonly caused when dogs get into or are given a food item that is high in fat. If the dog is not used to this, pancreatitis can occur as a result. This causes pain, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and sometimes other organ involvement.

9. Illnesses, such as kidney and liver disease, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer
Chronic diarrhea, loss of appetite, and vomiting can be signs of more serious issues occurring within your dog’s body. Diseases of the digestive tract or the surrounding organs can cause bloody stools, painful bowel movements and many other debilitating side effects.
Conditions like inflammatory bowel syndrome may result from sensitivity to certain foods or allergies. IBS is the inflammation of a dog’s intestines that can cause chronic diarrhea, vomiting, gas, upset stomach, fatigue and weight loss. IBS can affect dogs of all ages, but it is commonly found in older dogs and certain breeds who are predisposed to digestive issues. Cancer treatments like  chemotherapy and other potent medication can also contribute to dogs with loose stools.

10. Poisonous substances or plants
Sudden diarrhea is one of the first symptoms of dog poisoning. Stomach discomfort is common after your dog has eaten a toxic substance. Lead-based products, poisonous plants, and household products are some of the few things that can result in gastrointestinal problems. These substances are dangerous and can cause a real health scare if left untreated. When your dog ingests these toxins, the body naturally wants to expel the poison, which leads to detoxification processes of vomiting and diarrhea. Always ask your vet in the case of dogs with diarrhea.
You can find toxic products all over your house. Things such as chocolate, human medications, mushrooms, laundry detergents, chalk, charcoal and plants can be very harmful to your pet if ingested.

11. Stress or emotional upset
Dogs that experience stress often develop diarrhea. This is most common in puppies just coming into a new home or dogs in shelters. It is also a common occurrence when new animals are brought into the home or a person in the household leaves or has a new schedule.

12. Antibiotics and other medications

Along with helping cure infections, antibiotics are also known to cause the runs. Gastrointestinal problems are common side effects of antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to kill harmful bacteria in our bodies caused by infections. However, antibiotics kill not only the bad bacteria but good bacteria as well. “Good” bacteria is needed to balance the digestive system, without them your dog will experience stomach discomfort and cramps. Antibiotics can disrupt this bacterial balance and result in diarrhea during and after your dog’s antibiotic treatment.





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Monday, October 30, 2017

How To Stop Dog Diarrhea

How To Stop Dog Diarrhea
  Diarrhea is a common canine affliction and it varies in frequency, duration, and intensity from dog to dog.
  Diarrhea is a common problem in dogs, often because they will put almost anything in their mouth. But it can also be caused by more serious health problems, some of which require close attention, especially if the diarrhea is severe or occurs frequently.
  For the most part, diarrhea and vomiting are nature’s way of allowing the body to cleanse and remove a toxin. A small amount of blood or mucus can sometimes be seen in the stool when the intestinal bacteria are out of balance but this isn’t necessarily cause for alarm.
  A great many cases are mild and, with your vet’s advice, may be treated without a trip to the office.But if your dog is an otherwise healthy adult and, it is reasonable to try some home treatment.

An Important First Step
  The most important thing to remember when it comes to treating the diarrhea is that your primary goal should be to let the body do what it must while preventing any further damage.
Most animals will fast themselves when they have digestive disease and it’s a good idea to stop feeding your dog if he doesn’t fast himself. You can start with 6 to 12 hours of no food or water with most dogs. If your dog is very small and prone to hypoglycemia, you should give him tiny licks of honey or karo syrup each hour, or as needed, if he appears weak and trembly.
  After the fast, if there is no further vomiting and the diarrhea has stopped or slowed, offer small sips of water  every few hours.After six hours of water only, you may start some broth or small amounts of food. Gradually increase the amounts of food over the next four to five days.
  Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so make sure to give your dog access to water at all times. 

Prevent The Recurrence Of Dog Diarrhea
  After a fast, food is usually introduced slowly and many people start with binders, which can normalize stool consistency. Once your dog is reintroduced to food, a bland diet will help prevent a recurrence of diarrhea. Starting with soup is a gentle way to smooth your dog’s transition back to his regular diet.

  Other bland diets include:
  • White rice
  • Rice water: Boil high-quality rice in a lot of water, remove the grains, and offer the dog the creamy white soup that’s left. A splash of broth or a bit baby food will make it more palatable.
  • Herbs, such as fennel, have gut-soothing properties
  • Canned pumpkin has the odd distinction of being effective for diarrhea and constipation.
  • Plain protein sources such as egg (prepared with no butter or oil) or chicken (without skin)
  • Probiotics, live bacteria that aid digestion- these are also found in yogurt
  • Yogurt, which has beneficial bacteria, can help in dogs who can tolerate milk and milk products.
  • Cottage cheese
  • Boiled potatoes, without skin
  • Specially-formulated dog foods: Some manufacturers offer foods that can sooth stomach problems. You may need to obtain these from your vet.
  • Over-the-counter medications for humans may also be effective for doggie diarrhea, but should be given with caution and you should talk to your vet before using them.
  If the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours or your dog’s condition worsens at any time, call your vet immediately.
  If your dog’s digestive disease is severe or persistent, your veterinarian’s suggestions may include: fecal exams to rule out parasites; blood work to rule out liver, kidney, endocrine or other problems; x-rays or abdominal ultrasound to rule out foreign objects, obstructions, and cancer; and endoscopy to visualize the stomach and intestinal mucosa.
Prevention of Dog Diarrhea
  The best thing that you can do to prevent diarrhea in your dog is to treat it as you would a human. Keep your dog away from stray dogs as much as possible and administer vaccines as scheduled. Be sure to take your dog to the vet for a wellness visit to stave off any issues as soon as possible.
  And be sure to stay with food your dog and stick with it. Change brands if your pet develops allergies, but try to stick with a quality dog food and do not feed your dog table scraps.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What to Feed a Sick Dog

What to Feed a Sick Dog
  Everyone gets sick at one time or another and having someone to look after you, look after you, and guide you in the correct direction in this time of need can make all the difference in getting you back to your normal health and strength. Dogs are no exception to this rule and looking after and caring for your dog can make all the difference to their recovery.
  When your dog's tummy is upset, he can't tell us what's wrong. When lethargy and "accidents" tell us there's an upset, there are general rules to follow when feeding a sick dog. Just like children, they have systems that are smaller than those of adult humans, tend to recover quickly and need to start eating again to replace lost water and nutrients. However, if the upsets are violent or last more than a few days, it's time to take your friend to the doctor.
  But what happens if your dog has lost their appetite and you know they need some sort of food inside them before they run into more illness? Well this is a very common situation to be in with an ill dog so there are a few ideas that you might want to try and they might shorten your dogs suffering and help keep it bearable for the time being. 

Let your dog eat grass
  Let them eat cake! And by cake, we mean grass! Grass is one of those instinctual remedies dogs may go for when they’re feeling unwell. Grass may cause a dog to vomit.  Let your dog’s instincts lead you both. If they want to eat grass when they’re not feeling well, if they want to vomit a bit, that may be just what they need to do to feel better. Just make sure to keep them well hydrated. If they vomit more than twice, or persistently eat grass and vomit every time they take a trip outside, call a vet.



  Give your dog bland food (food with little or no strong flavours, smells, and tastes) to start with, bland food will help them keep their food down with not too much in it to upset the stomach and cause more illness. Anything that makes it easier for your dog to eat without too much strain is best; if they have to put a lot of effort into eating when ill they will probably not bother in fear of causing more illness and sick feeling, try blending food up finely so they can lick it up instead of chewing and swallowing, as this often works well for a lot of pets.


Simple foods
Your dog’s kibble may be a bit too rich for them when they have an upset stomach. Try some simple boiled shredded chicken with a bit of white rice, or try some mashed pumpkin. Offer small amounts at a time, rather than a full meal. If they appear eager for more, it’s a good sign. Their tummy might be on the mend. If they’re still dubious, consider a no-salt chicken broth to entice them to eat a bit. Add water to whatever you offer them, as dehydration is the real danger of your average run of the mill upset tummy.

Gradual Feeding
  After fasting for 24 hours, your pup could probably down an entire bowl of food within a few minutes. Feeding him a small amount at first and then increasing that amount each day prevents him from stuffing himself to the brim and vomiting again. Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine suggests feeding your dog his bland diet three to six times a day. The amount of food you should give your dog depends mostly on his size. Feeding an adult German shepherd 2 cups of bland food on the first day will be fine, but feeding that same amount to a Yorkshire terrier is too much. After about two days, begin mixing in your dog’s regular food with the bland food diet until he’s off the bland meals completely.

Check for dehydration
  Lift your dog’s lips and look at their gums. Gums should be pink and slick. That is, wet in appearance instead of dry. If you’re not sure, press on your dog’s gums until you see the color change. Remove your finger, and note how long it takes for color to come back. Color should come back immediately. If it takes a couple of moments, your dog could be dehydrated. 
  You can also pull at the scruff of their neck, the way a mother animal may lift their young. If the skin snaps back, they should be fine. If it takes a long time for the skin to retract, they could be dehydrated.

How to prevent and treat dehydration
  If your dog is showing the above signs of dehydration, it’s time to take their condition seriously. Many people offer their dehydrated dogs unflavored Pedialyte, which is a child’s electrolyte drink. Even if your dog is drinking water, it sometimes isn’t enough, and Pedialyte will help replace electrolytes they may have lost from vomiting. Other dog-friendly products like Rebound may also help.
  If they won’t drink it on their own, you may wish to use a feeding syringe (needle-less) to feed them the Pedialyte. Put the syringe into the side of the mouth, between the cheek and gums, and go slowly to prevent your dog from choking or breathing in the liquid. Be careful, take it slowly, and keep them calm. Really sick dogs sometimes don't have the greatest gag reflex, and aspiraton of these liquids can be dangerous.
  How much should you give? A dose to help a dog maintain hydration should be at least 15 mL per pound of body weight per day. This can turn out to be quite a bit of fluid to deliver with a syringe, so you may want to divide the dose into 4 a day.

You can also simply take your dog to the vet, where they'll be able to treat dehydrated dogs by delivering fluids under the skin.

 If this works then you should build the tastes up slowly from bland food to normal stronger tasting foods but always keeping to what your dog is comfortable with, if you do too much too soon then your dog will become ill again so take it slowly.


If this doesn't work then try to feed them sufficient amounts of water if nothing else. When a dog is unwell they may have other symptoms like diarrhea which will cause them to become dehydrated easily and set them up for more misery so try to maintain good hydration levels, which in turn will maintain your dog's happiness.


If all else fails and nothing seems to be working then you should contact your vet and seek advice there, if you do not then you risk your dogs health and bodyweight deteriorating and there may be other difficulties to overcome before your dog will start to become better.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Everything about Dog Worms

Everything about Dog Worms
  There are a wide variety of worms that can infect your dog. Although many of the symptoms are similar, each will require a specific type of medication for treatment. When an inappropriate medication is used to treat worms, infestations can return or worsen in severity, causing additional medical complications. Some of the worms that commonly affect dogs include: heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

Symptoms
Dog Coughing - One of the advanced stage symptoms of heartworms in a dog is coughing. Dogs with hookworms and roundworms may also develop a cough.

Dog Vomiting - Dogs that have worms will often throw up. Roundworms can sometimes show up in a dog’s vomit.

Diarrhea in Dogs - Soft stools and canine diarrhea can be the result of worms. In addition to diarrhea, dogs with hookworms may have blood in their stools.

Low Energy Dogs - Dogs that are lethargic and less active than normal may be showing symptoms of having worms.

Pot Bellied Appearance - If your dog starts to appear pot bellied or bloated, it may have contracted worms. This is commonly seen in puppies that have picked up worms from their mother.

Dog’s Change in Appetite - If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s appetite, he may have come into contact with roundworms. Dogs that are infected often lose their appetite. As worms steal a dog’s nutrients, a dog with worms may also show a sudden increase in hunger.

Dog Losing Weight - If your dog shows signs of rapid weight loss, he may have a tapeworm or a whipworm.

Dull Coat - A healthy dog should have a shiny thick coat. If your dog’s coat begins to dull and dry out, he may have picked up a form of worms. Loss of hair or the appearance of rashes can also denote worms.

Dog Itching and Signs of Skin Irritations - Dogs that show signs of skin irritation may have a severe infestation of worms.

Dog Rubbing Its Bottom on the Ground “Scooting” - While this can often be caused by problems with the anal glands, dogs with worms will occasionally rub their rear ends on the floor in order to relieve themselves of the itch due to worms in the area.

Visible Worms in Fur or Fecal Matter - Some worms, such as tapeworms may appear as small moving segments in the fur or area around dog’s anus. Roundworms can often be seen in a dog’s stools.

Non-Intestinal Worms
  The biggest problem for dog owners in terms of non-intestinal worms in dogs is heartworms. In recent years awareness of heartworms has risen and resulted in increased preventative efforts by pet owners throughout the United States.

Heartworms
  Heartworms are a parasite that is contracted through bites from infected mosquitoes. As these mosquitoes bite dogs they transmit heartworm larvae in to the dog’s bloodstream. The heartworm eggs travel to the dog’s heart where they settle in the right heart ventricle and begin to duplicate. As these worms increase in number and grow larger they soon begin to cause severe damage to the dog’s heart, lungs and other major organs. Heartworms can live as long as five years within a dog but the infestation usually becomes fatal before that point. Heartworm infection is most commonly diagnosed by taking blood samples and testing them for the presence of heartworm offspring.

Spotting and Treating Heartworms
  Early signs of heartworm infection can be easy to miss and as a result it is often not until the infection becomes severe that it is caught. Some of the most common signs of dogs suffering heartworms include: hair loss, jaundice, diarrhea, respiratory trouble, wheezing, loss of appetite, blindness, increased heartbeat, vomiting, poor coat, coughing, lethargy and weight loss. Treatment for heartworm infestation is dangerous and since most cases are not caught until dogs exhibit symptoms due to organ damage, treatment can often be fatal. Treatment involves injecting toxins in to the bloodstream that will kill the heartworms; however, they can also prove fatal to weakened dogs. The sooner heartworm infestations are caught, the better the chance that a dog will survive treatment because there will be less damage to major organs. Heartworm treatment is expensive and time consuming. Numerous treatments are required to eliminate infestations and throughout the numerous treatments the dog must be kept confined and inactive. In some cases where heartworm infestations are severe and dogs are too disabled from their condition, veterinarians may suggest forgoing treatment and opting for euthanization. Choosing euthanization may be a difficult decision to make, but the amount of discomfort a dog experiences during advanced stages of heartworm infection is significant.

Preventing Heartworms
  Preventing heartworms is easy with the large number of heartworm tablets available for monthly dosage. The different heartworm preventative medications vary in price and all are more affordable than a single heart worm treatment. Some of the most commonly used heartworm preventative medications include: Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus and Panacur–C.

Important Things to Keep in Mind about Heartworms:
  • It is estimated that 100% of dogs exposed to infective heartworm larvae become infected with heartworms.
  • According to the American Heartworm Society, only 55% of dogs in the United States are on heartworm preventative.
  • “Indoor only” animals can also become infected with heartworms.
  • More than thirty different animal species can contract heartworms including: wild canids, wild felids, sea lions and humans.
  • Heart worm disease could be completely eliminated in domesticated animals if every pet owner administered heartworm preventative to their pet.
Intestinal Worms
  When referring to worms in general, most commonly people are referring to intestinal worms. These types of worms are found in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs where they thrive and reproduce, causing a slew of medical side effects. Intestinal worms are referred to as parasites because they attach to your dog’s intestinal wall and feed by leaching your dog’s nutrients. If left untreated, infestations of intestinal worms can become deadly by causing intestinal blockage. Dogs should be tested for intestinal parasites through the taking of a fecal sample once a year. All puppies should be issued de-wormers to ensure that they are not carrying worms or worm larvae. Most of the large name heartworm medications sold these days also provide protection against a number of the most common intestinal worm varieties to ensure that fully grown dogs are protected.

Roundworms

  Roundworms are a particularly common type of parasitic worm found in young puppies. The majority of puppies have traces of roundworms or roundworm eggs in their tissue at birth as a result of migrating parasites from the mother’s tissue. Puppies can also contract roundworms from their mother’s milk. This is one of the reasons why puppies are de-wormed as soon as they are seen by a vet and given their initial “puppy shots.” Many breeders also take the precaution of administering de-wormer to ensure that their puppies remain healthy. Once within the dog’s body, the roundworms will travel to the intestinal tract where they will attach themselves to the intestinal wall and continue to grow. Some roundworms can grow as large as five inches long. Once roundworms reach sexual maturity they will begin shedding eggs within the dog’s small intestine. Infected dogs will pass roundworm eggs in their feces and the eggs can then go on to re-infect other dogs that are exposed to the infected feces. Once dogs become infected by ingesting the roundworm eggs (these eggs can survive in soil for years,) the eggs will hatch and young roundworms will travel to the lungs. Eventually these small larvae are coughed out of the lungs and swallowed where they will make their way to the small intestine to grow to full sized worms. It is easy to see how an untreated infection of roundworms can continue a cycle of infection among a neighborhood or kennel of dogs.

Spotting and Treating Roundworms
  Dogs with an active case of roundworms can appear to have a bloated stomach and exhibit poor growth despite eating regularly. Infected dogs may also vomit or have diarrhea, cough, develop pneumonia or show signs of anemia. Owners may spot worms in their dogs vomit or feces. These worms can infect both young and old dogs and can become fatal by causing intestinal blockage if they are not treated as soon as possible. Roundworms are treated with a de-wormer, but it should be noted that this treatment is only effective for fully grown worms living in a dog’s intestinal tract, not for eggs. It is important to administer a full course of de-wormer prescribed for roundworms by a vet in order to ensure that the infestation is completely eradicated. The most commonly prescribed medications for roundworm infestations include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C, Heartguard Plus, Worm X, Iverhart Plus and Interceptor.

Preventing Roundworms
  Preventing roundworms in most dogs is as easy as keeping dogs away from other dog feces and administering a heartworm preventative that also protects against roundworms.

Tapeworms
  Tapeworms can be contracted through eating animals that are already infected with tapeworms or through eating fleas that feed on tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms appear as segmented and can be composed of as many as ninety different attached segments reaching as long as six inches in total length. Tapeworms live within the dogs intestines and absorb nutrients from the digestive tract through its skin. Like most other intestinal worms, tapeworms attach to the intestinal wall with their heads, though these worms utilize “suckers” to attach to the tissue. Amazingly, each section of the tapeworm has the ability to reproduce and contains eggs, which means that each section that breaks off the end of the worm releases eggs. As these eggs are released, they are passed in the dogs feces. This is often where the tapeworm eggs are ingested by fleas and the cycle begins again when that flea is ingested by another (or the same) dog. As the tapeworm grows, the end segments of the worm’s body will detach and the containing eggs and sections are excreted. Most pet owners are able to identify the presence of tapeworms by spotting these small rice like segments (which are often still moving) in their dog’s fur near their anus. Tapeworms can be spread from dogs to humans.

Spotting and Treating Tapeworms
  Dogs with a tapeworm infestation may appear with no symptoms at all, or they may appear with a number of general intestinal type symptoms. Some of the more general symptoms include: itching around the anus, vomiting, an upset stomach, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. Tapeworm infestations may also present with convulsions in extreme cases. Tapeworms in dogs are most commonly treated with Drontal Plus, Panacur – C and Tapeworm tabs. Tapeworm infestations in humans are most commonly treated with Praziquantel.

Preventing Tapeworms
  Unlike many other worms, tapeworms are not treated with heartworm medications that also cover parasitic worms. Tapeworms can be prevented by applying flea preventative regularly. Rodent populations should also be controlled since they can lead to an increase in fleas which feed on tapeworm eggs.

Hookworms
  Hookworms are very small worms that are named because of their hook-like teeth that they use to attach to the intestinal lining. These worms feed upon their host animal’s blood and are the most common parasitic worm found in dogs. Hookworms can be contracted in the same methods as roundworms, particularly during the puppy life stage. Veterinarians believe that 20% of the pets in the United States are infected with hookworms. It is possible for humans to contract hookworms from their dogs. Hookworms are much like other parasitic worms in that they lay eggs in the intestinal tract of dogs and those eggs are then expelled in feces or through a mother dog’s tissues during pregnancy. Hookworm infestations are particularly devastating to young and elderly dogs and should be treated as soon as a vet identifies hookworm eggs in a fecal sample.

Spotting and Treating Hookworms
   Dogs that have severe hookworm infections can often succumb to the parasite if not treated promptly. Signs of a hookworm infestation include: poor stamina, poor weight maintenance, progressive overall weakness, anemia, bloody diarrhea and an unwillingness to feed. In humans hookworm infestations can present with muscle pain, skin rashes and potentially lung disease. Commonly used hookworm medications for dogs include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C, Heartguard Plus, Worm X, Iverhart plus and Interceptor. In humans the most commonly used medications for treatment are benzimidazoles.

Preventing Hookworms
  Hookworms can be prevented with a number of heartworm preventative medications that also treat parasites. These worms can also be prevented by ensuring that your dog’s environment is kept clean.

Whipworms
  Whipworms are so named because they have the appearance of a whip with one end thicker than the other, the thinner end having the appearance of a piece of thread. This type of parasitic worm lives in the first section of the dog’s large intestines – the cecum. Where roundworm females are capable of producing 200,000 eggs in a single day, whipworms produce much fewer eggs making detection of an infection much more difficult. Even with the administration of a fecal sample, a veterinarian may miss an infection. In cases where dogs exhibit clear symptoms of whipworm infestation, but a fecal test comes up negative, additional fecal samples may be required. Unlike roundworms, whipworms rarely cause fatal infections in dogs but they can lead to complications in infected dogs. Whipworms bury their heads in to the wall of the dog’s large intestine and feed on the dog’s blood. Once established in the dog’s intestines whipworms will lay their eggs that will be excreted in the dogs feces. Whipworm eggs are extremely difficult to eradicate from soil and can only effectively be destroyed by replacing soil. Even picking up feces can leave traces of whipworm eggs behind leaving other dogs susceptible for infection. Whipworms are one of the few parasitic worms that cannot be transmitted to humans from dogs.

Spotting and Treating Whipworms
  Dogs with whipworms can show with a variety of symptoms including signs of anemia, diarrhea, hemorrhaging, weight loss and general upset stomach. If a case of whipworms is confirmed, all feces should be picked up and disposed of properly and soil should be replaced in order to avoid re-infection. Commonly used medications for whipworm infections include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C and Interceptor.

Preventing Whipworms
  Preventing whipworms should be done with a preventative oral medication. Interceptor is currently one of the few heartworm preventative medications that treats for whipworms as well as heartworms.

Other Intestinal Parasites to Consider
Coccidia
  Coccidiosis is a parasitic infection that is caused by coccidium bacteria. This bacterium is spread through feces of infected dogs and is most commonly found in puppies that have developed the disease after exposure to infected adult dog’s feces. Like many intestinal parasites, coccidiosis can be particularly dangerous to young puppies with under-developed immune systems. Adult dogs can also be affected by this infection particularly when undergoing periods of stress such as traveling, moving and even weather changes.

Spotting and Treating Coccidia
  Dogs infected with the Coccidia bacteria will present with watery and mucous like diarrhea. If the infection becomes severe diarrhea may be bloody and the dog may also present with symptoms of severe dehydration and overall weakness and lethargy.
Whenever any of these symptoms are noted it is crucial to get your dog to the vet regardless of their age because symptoms can escalate particularly quickly. The most common test performed by veterinarians that suspect coccidiosis is a fecal examination. In cases of coccidiosis the coccidium parasite is easily visible under the microscope. The parasite has an appearance somewhat like an eye with a pupil.
After confirming that coccidiosis is the cause of infection, your veterinarian will assess your dogs overall health. If your dog is experiencing significant distress due to dehydration and weakness they will keep your dog for inpatient treatment to administer fluids as well as medications to kill the parasite. If your dog is in overall good health your vet will send you home with medication to treat the parasite and suggest administering unflavored Pedialyte and plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated. Two weeks following completion of medication your vet will request a follow up fecal test to ensure that the parasite is no longer present.

Preventing Coccidiosis
  The best way to prevent the spread of coccidiosis is to keep infected animals apart from other animals in the home and to ensure infected animals are treated completely. It is also important to test feces of pregnant bitches to ensure that they newborn puppies are protected from infection. Many people will also test young puppies to ensure they are not infected with coccidiosis after their birth.
Coccidiosis is yet another reason why it is important to always pick up after your dog since leaving your dogs infected feces can pass the disease on to other dogs!

Giardia
  Giardia Worms in DogsInfection with the guardian parasite is referred to as giardiasis. Giardia is a protozoan parasite that is ingested by dogs when infectious cysts are shed in infected dog’s feces. Dogs can ingest these cysts through both direct and indirect contact with them and once ingested they travel down to the dogs intestinal tract. Many dogs ingest giardia cysts through water contamination which is why new puppy owners are advised against letting their dogs near local lakes and water bodies that could house the parasite.
It is important to note that giardia is the most common intestinal parasite found in the human digestive tract. It is possible for giardia to be passed on from dogs to humans so proper handling of infected dogs and infected feces is crucial.

Spotting and Treating Giardia
  Spotting giardia in adult dogs can be trickier than with younger dogs since the disease tends to accelerate rather rapidly in younger dogs with less developed immune systems. The most significant symptom of giardia is diarrhea that may be greasy or frothy in appearance and have mucous in it. Feces from dogs with giardia also tend to have a particularly strong odor. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms it is crucial to get them veterinary care in order to avoid dehydration, particularly in the case of very young puppies.
If your veterinarian suspects that your dog is suffering from giardiasis they will take a fecal sample. A fecal sample is taken not only to confirm the presence of the giardia parasite but also to rule out any other potential cause for symptoms such as maldigestion and malabsorption. The giardia parasite is a teardrop shaped parasite that can be seen in a fecal smear under a microscope.
After confirming that giardia parasites are present, your veterinarian will decide whether or not your dog needs to be kept in for observation or whether they can be released for treatment. You vet may also opt to administer fluids and then send you home to administer medication at home. In addition to prescription medication, veterinarians recommend bathing infected dogs to prevent any recontamination from remaining parasites on the dog. Once medication has been completed veterinarians will request a second fecal exam to ensure that the parasite has been eradicated completely. This step is particularly crucial since an ongoing giardia infection can have devastating effects on a dog and can even result in the death of young puppies in a relatively short time period.
The most commonly prescribed medications for giardia infections include: Flagyl also known as Metronidazole, Panacur and Valbazen. The favored of these is Flagyl however it is contraindicated in pregnancy.

Preventing Giardia
  Giardia is a particularly common parasite and it can be difficult to avoid; however, there are some tips to reduce the risk of your dog contracting it. Make sure not to take young dogs to water bodies where the parasite could be present and ensure that no dog drinks from the water or licks their paws after stepping in the water. Also ensure that whenever boarding your dog, you pick a kennel that offers individual spaces for dogs rather than communal kennel areas where the parasite can quickly spread.

If left untreated, worms can damage your dog’s internal organs and lead to loss of consciousness and death. If you suspect that your dog has worms, take it to your nearest veterinary office. Most worms are easy to treat and your veterinarian will prescribe a medication based on the diagnosis.
The best way to keep your dogs safe is to make sure they use a monthly heartworm disease preventive year round.



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