Every dog that leads a species-appropriate life undoubtedly comes into contact with the smallest organisms: the worms. It is sufficient for the fur nose to sniff the bushes, greet a conspecific or touch an animal carcass. Veterinarians, therefore, recommend regular deworming of the dog. But there are also critics who take a different approach. What is behind these different opinions on the subject of “worming for dogs”?
How dangerous are worms?
First of all, it is important to shed light on why the dog owner must act actively in the event of worm infestation. A worm infestation can be very dangerous not only for the beloved four-legged friends. Dog owners are advised to exercise extreme caution: there are types of parasites that can be transmitted to humans.
Worms in the dog
How does worm infestation affect most dogs? Worms attack the dog’s intestines. As a result, it and other organs become affected and can be seriously damaged.
Puppies in particular are at increased risk of serious damage to their health. It is not uncommon for worms to affect the puppy’s growth. A severe worm infestation can be fatal. For weakened, older dogs, it is also an extreme physical strain. This clearly shows that immediate treatment is always necessary in the case of acute worm infestation.
Transmission to humans
If the dog is infected with tapeworms, such as the fox tapeworm or the dog tapeworm, this represents a high health risk for people. The worm infection can be transmitted to the owner through close contact with one’s own fur nose. The dog does not have to lick the face of the mistress or master first. Simply stroking it is enough, as the saliva is also distributed on the fur. In this case, the worms nest in human organs. In some cases, only surgery can help remove the parasites from the human body.
How does worming work at the vet?
Wormers require a prescription and are only available from the veterinarian. It is important to know that the worming treatment from the vet is not a preventive measure. Chemical agents in the wormer cure are used to kill possible worms in the intestine. This prevents the worms from growing and becoming dangerous to dogs and humans. However, this also means that the dog can be attacked by worms again just 24 hours after ingestion.
The crux of the matter is: There is no worm infestation test. As a result, the dog’s organism is given a drug that it may not need.
How long-term wormer treatments affect gut health is unknown. This procedure is increasingly doubting many dog owners and animal health practitioners.
Worming the dog – how often?
According to European Association for Parasites in Animals, worming is recommended for dogs at regular intervals. As a rule, this means using a preparation from the veterinarian against worms every three months. In this interval, the worms have no chance of developing to the point where they are able to cause serious damage to the internal organs.
Depending on the risk, it can be done more often. For example, if the dog is often on the hunt. But even if your own dog is not a hunter and gets its food from the can, there is always a risk.
For smaller dogs, the tablet can cost around $5. Owners of larger dogs can pay up to $20 for the wormer. The intensity of the worm infestation can also be decisive for the price if a test has been carried out beforehand.
Alternative: fecal examination
With this method, the dog is also given a worming treatment, with one crucial difference: Only if the dog is verifiably infested with worms.
At the vet or in veterinary laboratories there is the possibility of having a feces sample carried out. The dog owner collects the poop of the four-legged friend on three consecutive days. Then the fecal samples are given and the analysis for parasite infestation begins. If worms are found in the dog’s feces, an immediate worming treatment is required. If there are no worms, eggs, and larvae in the excretions, no drug treatment is required. Regular fecal examinations should be carried out every three months.
Fecal examination costs
The costs for the fecal examination are around $20 in the lower level and up to $40 in the upper range. If the analysis of the feces is positive, there are additional costs for the worming treatment.
Recognize worm infestation in the dog
The symptoms are varied and not always clearly recognizable. The worm infestation is often not noticed in an adult, healthy dog. However, this must not lead to the parasites being underestimated. Possible characteristics of a worm-infested dog can include:
- Weight loss,
- Diarrhea (bloody),
- Bloated stomach,
- Dull fur,
- as well as a weakened state of health.
Conclusion: worming for dogs
Unfortunately, there is still no preventive measure or prophylaxis, for example in the form of vaccination against the worms. That is why worming is currently the best solution to rid the dog of the dangerous parasites. Anyone who actually notices that the dog shows side effects after the drug can use the alternative with the feces sample. It is important, however, that the topic should not be underestimated. This would be negligent not only for your own dog – but also for other conspecifics, yourself, and your family.