Infection occurs upon ingestion of contaminated feces or food. Upon ingestion, the parasite colonizes the lining of the small intestine and reproduction begins. As reproduction progresses the new coccidia are shed through the feces to the environment. Puppies are most commonly affected. Most infections are not apparent and resolve on their own by self immunization. Occasionally, signs will occur and can be quite severe.
Dog/cat flea tapeworm - the important point concerning this tapeworm is that any pet which has fleas, also has a real possibility of having tapeworms. The tapeworm completes its life cycle in the dog or cat by spending a portion of its life in the flea. Therefore the tapeworm never need to leave the dog's environment to complete it's life cycle.
Tapeworm segments are passed in the pet's feces. The segments rupture releasing egg packets to all areas of the pets environment. At this point the flea larvae eat the tapeworm eggs. The flea larvae later become adults and get back on the dog for a blood meal. When the dog feels the flea moving, it bites the fleas with its teeth and gets the flea into its mouth. As the flea or parts of the flea move through your pet's digestive system, the tapeworm larvae is released and grows to adulthood.
Left untreated, roundworms can cause a potbelly and diarrhea. Vomiting, a rough coat and poor growth are other signs. Heavy infections damage your dog's liver, lungs and brain. Death is possible.
Dogs get hookworms by either swallowing young hook-worms or hookworms can penetrate your dogs skin. Usually through the foot. Hookworms present a slight risk to humans if larvae (young hookworms) in the soil contact skin. Painful skin sores can result.
Hookworms feed on blood and tissue by piecing your dog's intestinal lining with tooth-like hooks. As a result, hookworms can cause severe blood loss. As few as 100 hookworms can kill a puppy. Dogs with heavy infections often have bloody diarrhea. Other signs include anemia, dehydration and apparent weakness. However, some puppies show no signs of infection.
Whipworm infection occurs when your dog swallows whipworm eggs. After hatching in the small intestine, whipworm larvae move to the large intestine where they mature. Adult worms lay eggs which are passed in your dog's stool to contaminate the soil .
Light infections of whipworms are difficult to diagnose, but they can lead to more serious problems. Large numbers of whipworms irritate the lining of your dog's intestine causing weight loss and pain. Watery and bloody stools may result. Severe infections can cause life threatening dehydration and 'anemia. Whipworms are not dangerous to people, but once dogs become infected, whipworms are difficult to eliminate without medication programs.
Provide your veterinarian with a stool sample at least once every 6 months to a year. Take puppies to your veterinarian at an early age. Follow your veterinarian advise on medicine .and follow up visits. Ask us about products that help prevent parasites. Don't feed your pet on the ground. Use only clean food and water dishes. Clean up your dogs stools before they can break down in the soil. Wash hands before eating. (Especially important for children) Prevent pets from eating prey if possible. (Never feed your animal uncooked meat)
James B. Krewatch. VM.D.