Worms and deworming

shutterstock_14214418 Internal parasites may take up residence in your pet’s intestines or other organs and cause serious health complications. We look at how deworming products are formulated and manufactured to provide a safe and effective way to control them.
Endoparasites or internal parasites live inside the body of the host and feed off partially digested food or blood. Most internal parasites, colloquially called worms, live in the host’s intestines, but some may migrate to other parts of the body.

Deworming schedule

Puppies: At two, four, six and eight weeks of age; then at three months and monthly up to six months.
Kittens: At five to six weeks of age; then at eight weeks and monthly up to six months.
Adult dogs and cats: Three to four times per year, depending on the product you use. If pets are in contact with other animals or their faeces, deworm every three months.

Source: Dr H McLean

Tips for using dewormers safely

* Always adhere to the recommended dosages to avoid any unnecessary reactions.

* Make sure the product you choose is safe for the pet you want to deworm.

* If you have a Rough or Smooth Collie, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Australian Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog and other related breeds or Collie mixed breeds, speak to your vet before administering any deworming medication. Some dewormers can be harmful to breeds who carry the MDR 1 gene mutation.

* Check the spectrum of activity offered by the product. If your pet has been diagnosed with a worm infestation, your veterinarian will prescribe a dewormer that covers that particular infestation.

Source: Dr Mats Abatzidis of MSD Animal Health

Worms found in South Africa

shutterstock_172653941Tapeworms: A segmented flatworm that feeds off digested food in the small intestines of its host.

Roundworms: The thin, spaghetti-like body of the roundworm is light brown or white in colour and easy to see in an infected dog’s faeces or vomit.

Hookworms: A dangerous worm that hooks into the intestinal wall and sucks the host’s blood.

Whipworms: Named for their whip-shaped body, a thick posterior end and thin anterior end, whipworms attach to the lining of the large intestine.

Spirocerca lupin: A reddish-pink nematode known as ‘the worm in the throat’ has become a serious threat in South Africa and other tropical and subtropical regions. An intermediate host, a type of dung beetle, ingests the eggs.

Products available

Tablets and pastes were the first dewormers available to pet owners. Today this arsenal includes powders which are mixed in with food, liquids and more recently, spot-ons.
Your veterinarian can deworm your pet or you can purchase over-the-counter dewormers at your local supermarket.

Text: Gina Hartoog

The full and detailed article appears in the March 2015 issue of AnimalTalk 

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