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Dogs are curious and outgoing by nature, but, if you are not careful, this can get your pet in trouble. Parasitic infections are quite common in dogs as they tend to pick up fleas and ticks when they venture outside, or intestinal worms from contaminated water, soil, food, and sometimes even feces. Some of these infections can be transferred from dogs to humans, so understanding how to identify, treat, and prevent such infections is important for both pet and owner.
ten most common parasites that infect dogs are:
a protozoan which infects the dog's intestines. A dog can get infected by
eating the parasite's cysts.
vomiting, or feces which emit a foul smell.
are found in the small intestine. Common ways in which dogs get infected is
contact with contaminated feces or soil, or eating hookworm eggs. Puppies might
also get it from their mother, either in the womb or while nursing.
appetite and weight loss, fatigue, or bloody stools.
are also found in the gastrointestinal tract. Dogs get infected through their
mother's milk or by coming into contact with contaminated feces.
worms in feces or vomit, diarrhea, stunted growth, or distended abdomen.
infect the large intestine and are harder to detect. Unless the infection is
severe, dogs usually do not display any symptoms.
mucous discharge with stool, or weight loss.
infect dogs when the latter eats fleas carrying tapeworm eggs. They can be
detected from a stool sample when the worm discards the end segment of its
itching, weight loss with no reduction in appetite or vice-versa, dragging
their rear end, etc.
Treatment for Parasites 1-5
treatment for intestinal parasites is de-worming. Tapeworm is treated with a drug
that’s either ingested or injected.
transmitted through a mosquito bite. The worms enter the bloodstream and make
their home in the dog’s heart. They damage the arteries making the heart pump
faster and harder to maintain blood flow.
low appetite, or a cough that doesn’t go away.
includes periodic pills and topical medication. Surgical intervention may be
required in some instances.
a fungal infection that typically infects puppies, and dogs with suppressed
immune systems either on account of age or illness.
lesions on the body.
fungal infection is treated with ointment or medicated shampoo. If the
infection is severe, the dog's fur might have to be shaved off. Oral medication
may also be prescribed.
are parasites that feed on the blood of dogs. They can be found in and around
the ears and the groin region.
and scratching, loss of fur, red bumps, or flea dirt or feces.
oral or topical medications are the best way to eliminate fleas. Flea powder,
shampoos, and sprays can also be used.
on the species, mites can be found in various places on a dog’s body. They
cause a skin disease called mange.
itching, scabs, loss of fur, or emaciation.
depends on the type of mite infecting the dog. Oral and topical medications,
medicated baths, and clipping of fur is generally practiced.
are vectors, and they carry diseases like Lyme disease, that can make your dog
bumps and scabs, or an abnormal amount of head-shaking by the dog.
for ticks include sprays and powders, topical applications, and medicated
shampoos. For tick-borne illnesses, the vet will suggest a treatment protocol
after the disease is diagnosed.
Prevention is your best bet. So take your dog
for periodic exams to ensure parasitic infections are caught early. Inspect
your dog regularly for signs of flea, tick or mite infestation, and ensure
prompt removal of dog feces to minimize the chances of contagion.