Wherever dogs play and sniff, sooner or later they come into contact with worms or their eggs. There are different strategies to stop the development of parasites and avoid dangerous diseases. Here you can find out how you can take action against worms and what needs to be considered.
General information about worms and deworming
Dogs that live humanely and are allowed to run free will inevitably come into contact with worms. This is unavoidable and a natural process.
Our dogs come into contact with the excretions of other dogs and animals every day – when playing in the meadow, when going for a walk, hunting in the forest, sniffing and licking plants, carrion and excrement. They ingest the worm eggs through their nose and mouth.
The worm parasites are not only dangerous for our four-legged friends but can also get onto our hands – for example when petting the dog – and then into our organism. They infect internal organs, which can lead to serious illnesses.
In dogs, symptoms of worm infestation usually appear very late. These include diarrhea, loss of appetite or changing appetite, possibly emaciation, and itching on the anus (“sleigh rides”). In the advanced stage, vomiting and skin and coat changes can also occur.
Veterinarians and animal health advisors recommend regular deworming of dogs so that dog roundworms and fox tapeworm don’t stand a chance.
How often to deworm the dog?
This question is widely discussed by dog owners, veterinarians, and professionals. One thing is undisputed: In the event of an acute worm infestation, you should definitely deworm. It is then important to rebuild the dog’s intestinal flora. Most vets recommend deworming every three to four months “as a preventive measure”. But what about deworming as a preventative measure?
What happens during a “worm cure”?
Today’s dewormers are no longer as stressful on the dog’s body as they were a few years ago. Most dogs do not show any side effects visible to humans. However, as with all medicinal preparations, side effects such as diarrhea or lethargy can occur. Very rarely, neurological deficits can occur in dogs, especially in the case of severe worm infestation/worm death.
Deworming preparations are available from many different manufacturers and with different modes of action. Their job is to kill the parasites in the dog’s intestines.
Milbemycin oxime works against mites and roundworms, praziquantel is given for flukes and tapeworms. Both preparations paralyze or cramp the muscles of the parasites, killing them and excreting them quickly.
It is inevitable that your dog’s intestinal flora will be affected with every dose of the dewormer. The long-term health consequences of a deworming regimen that has been administered regularly for decades cannot be foreseen as long as the pharmaceutical industry does not carry out long-term studies.
24 hours after completing the deworming treatment, your dog can become infected with worms immediately. There are currently no vaccines against worms and mites.
The somewhat different way: regular fecal examinations
If you want to save your dog from taking medication for life, there is a tried and tested means of checking for actual parasite infestation: fecal analysis.
Examination of the feces is a good alternative to the deworming treatments administered on suspicion, especially in the case of allergic, sick, old, or generally weakened dogs.
Proceed as follows:
- Collect three stool samples on three consecutive days, because the worms/worm eggs are not passed with every stool your dog defecates.
- Take these to the veterinary lab or your veterinarian, where they will be checked for parasites.
- If there is a proven worm infestation, worming is essential.
- Carry out the fecal analysis regularly about every three months, so you too can guarantee a worm-free dog.
Deworm your dog: cost of deworming and fecal examinations
The cost of a deworming treatment is between 3 euros and 15 euros per tablet. The number of tablets required depends on the preparation, the actual worm infestation, and the body weight of your dog. A stool analysis costs between 15 and 30 euros. The advantage lies in the avoidance of medicinal stress on the dog’s organism.