Articles Index/Parasites
Posted 03/15/98


These include most worms and infectious protozoa that live in a dog's intestine, where they feed and reproduce. Eggs and protozoan cysts transmitted to the soil via an infected animal's feces pose a threat to other dogs that sniff or walk across the infested ground. After treatment, keep your dog away from feces-contaminated areas. Be alert for signs of internal parasites in your dog.

ROUND WORMS: Frequently found in young and newly weaned puppies, and usually transmitted by the nursing dam. Can often be seen in stools, and look like strands of spaghetti. Medication: either Nemex, available from your veterinarian, or Evict (trade name) available at pet supply stores.

HOOKWORMS AND WHIPWORMS: Occur in both puppies and adult dogs. Microscopic examination of fecal samples is the means of detection. Symptoms: jelly-like, black stools, sometimes containing traces of blood. Medication: Panacur, which can be prescribed by your veterinarian. (Panacur also eliminates several other types of worms.)

TAPEWORMS: Occur both in puppies and adult dogs. Can sometimes be seen in stools as small, flat, white segments, moving slowly. Also appear as brownish, dried segments resembling rice grains on the coat near the dog's anus. Medication: Droncit, prescribed by your veterinarian, one of most effective and widely used drugs. Note: Since frequently fleas are the carriers of tapeworm eggs, eliminating fleas is doubly important.

HEARTWORM: Different from other intestinal worms, much more dangerous, and capable of causing shortened life span and/or death. Transmitted by mosquitoes, so first ask your veterinarian whether there have been any cases in your area. If recommended, have your dog tested and use whichever of the two types of preventive medication is prescribed: (1) administered daily or, (2) as recommended more recently, administered once a month. Treatment of an animal already infected is complicated and has dangerous side effects.

GIARDIA: A hard-to-detect microorganism that lives in the digestive tract, causing chronic diarrhea and mucoid stools. Contracted through exposure to feces of wildlife such as beaver, rabbits, squirrels, skunks, and raccoons. Can also be contracted in the city from the feces of infected cats and dogs. Contagious to humans. Medication: Flagyl or Atabrine (commercial names), either of which must be obtained by veterinary prescription. Several course of one, or both, of these drugs may be needed due to likely recurrences.

COCCIDIA: Like Giardia, a microorganism of the digestive system, causing "inexplicable," chronic diarrhea. Frequently contracted from bird droppings, but also can be contracted from feces of wildlife and infected dogs and cats. Medication: the sulfa drug Albon (Bactrovet) prescribed b your veterinarian and administered according to directions.

From The Norfolk Terrier, 2nd Edition, by
Joan R. Read. © 1994 by Joan R. Read. Excerpted
with permission of the estate of Joan R. Read


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