Worms by Krystal Rohan

Surprisingly a lot of folks don’t realize that heartworms live and operate in the heart and lungs of the dog, not in the stomach, where the majority of de-wormers are effective. Heartworms are transmitted by blood sucking mosquitoes and are carried in the blood stream to the heart where they can mature and reproduce at about one year of age. A female heartworm can reach a length of twelve inches and resembles a spaghetti noodle. These creepy critters live and reproduce for up to seven years. That is a long time to multiply and continue the cycle of destroying the dog’s circulatory pump and lungs. Next time you are in a veterinarian’s office, request to see if they have a heartworm diseased heart in a jar to show you. Nearly all vet offices I have visited, keep one at hand for educational reference. Most times when symptoms of heartworms are physically apparent such as severe dry cough, the damage to the dog’s organs is irreparable. The best medicine is the preventative kind. To think that you could keep your dog from being mosquito bitten is ridiculous. However to give medicines to animals that will kill the parasite’s larvae stage (known as Microfilariae pronounced miro-fill-air-ea) is the preventative maintenance to knock out heartworm disease. The most common intestinal worms in dogs are round-worms, hookworms, and whipworms. Then there are the maggot rice looking tapeworms that will actually appear in the dog’s stool. Prescriptions are not needed, as these worms can all be treated with medications that are over the counter. Routinely de-worming your dog will assure your dog is healthier and better able to absorb nutrients from its feed. Roundworms also resemble spaghetti and will disrupt the digestive process and get in the lungs. Whipworms and hookworms both feed on blood that they get by attacking and attaching themselves to the dog’s intestinal wall where they feed. These worms are contracted through the larvae, that are passed into the feces, then can be picked up or re-contaminated from the feces fragments or the soil where you or your dog may travel, collecting them on the feet and later ingesting the larvae to again repeat the whole cycle. These worms are not visible to the human eye and are rarely seen unless they are passed through the stool. However, the tapeworm is not as shy and will show signs of fragments of itself when infestations occur. These are little white rice looking segments (sack full of eggs) that appear in feces or around the dog’s anus that alert most people that the dog might actually have worms. At this point, the tapeworms are already reproducing and require attention. Fleas are responsible for the introduction of the tapeworms into your dog as a parasite piggy backing another parasite. Flea larvae ingest the tapeworm eggs. As the flea grows and irritates the dog, it is swallowed allowing the tapeworm access to the dog’s intestines.

Any of the worms mentioned will affect your dog’s health. Some factors such as age and over-all health of the dog will determine the severity of symptoms the dog exhibits. Some dogs just look poor and have difficulty maintaining weight. Others will show blood in the stool, diarrhea, and/or vomitng that will lead to malnourishment, dehydration, anemia, and even possible death in young dogs. The younger the dog, the harder and faster the intestinal worms will affect the dog. Now, I’m not claiming to have a degree or be licensed in any school (other than the one of hard knocks). Please understand this is a very very basic explanation in layman’s terms that barely scratches the surface of a summary on these parasites. There are many complicated and technical definitions. However, for the purpose of this article, the short summarized version is adequate. Because I am not a doctor or a veterinarian, I cannot give you medical advice. I am not diagnosing anybody’s animal, nor am I suggesting that any one treat their own animal. If your dog needs medical attention or is ill, take the animal to the veterinarian. I am only sharing what I, owner and operator of the ugly Dog Ranch, do with my own animals to keep them healthy.

First and foremost is keeping the animal in a clean environment. Mosquitoes are reproduced in standing water like a dog’s water bucket. Keep your dog’s water fresh and remove other stagnant water to help cut back the amount of mosquitoes in your dog’s area. Also keep the area your dog lives in free of fecal matter. The more feces, the more opportunities the dog has to step in it and become re-contaminated with worms. Dogs kept on chains are more likely to drag and spread the fecal matter through the soil with the chain allowing the whole area to be contaminated, yet appear cleaner.

Maintaining the de-worming schedule is of utmost priority. All my dogs are de-wormed regularly, even if no symptoms are apparent. It is considered “routine maintenance”. Several different de-wormers are kept on hand, used, and rotated because some are more effective on certain worms in certain conditions. These are de-wormers that you may be familiar with along with the active ingredient that makes them effective against parasites. Panacur or safeguard is- Fenbendazole effective against intestinal worms, Strongid is- Pyrantel Pamoate effective against intestinal worms, Ivomec 1% – ivermectin is used to prevent heartworm disease, and Droncit is Praziquantel which is effective against tapeworms. Ugly Dogs receive ivomec 1% once a month used as a preventative maintenance against heartworms in a dosage of 1/10 cc per ten pounds of body weight. We use safeguard Equine paste giving a dosage equivalent to 100 lbs of equine body weight or one click of the paste per dog. Strongid is dosed at 1cc per 10 lbs of dog weight. Safeguard or Strongid is also used to power dose for 3-5 days in a row in case of infestations. Dronicit is only used when tapeworms start becoming apparent, usually in the summer when fleas are the worst. These De-wormers are either purchased from local feed stores (Swine, cattle, or equine versions for cost effective quantities) or through catalog vet type suppliers and wholesalers. Ugly Dog Ranch maintains 25-35 dogs year round. So therefore, purchases for the dogs are made in large quantities to save money. De-wormers usually have a long shelf life making it an item easily purchased in bulk, if you only have a few dogs to help save a couple of bucks. On average, the cost about $5.16 making an annual cost of around $62.00 Seems quite affordable when considering the alternative.

Average Annual Cost in Maintenance for One Dog
(Based on a healthy dog not requiring any special attention.)

(1)8 Way Vaccine for Distemper, Adenovirus, Corona Virus, Parvo Virus, Parainflenza
Leptospira Bacterin (vaccine& Syringe, owner administered) $4.50
(2)Bordatella/Kennel Cough intra nasal) $3.50
(3)Annual de-worming (12 Monthly) $62.00
(4)Flea Control $65.70
(5)Annual Rabies Vaccine $12.00
(6)Feed- Good Quality dry dog food $214.20

Total Comes to $361.90

Always consult a veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog. Some of the medications mentioned have been known to cause seizures and even death in some breeds of dogs.