Canine Conundrums:- The unseen threat
The Unseen Threat
Endoparasites or worms, live inside the body and are not visible in the way ticks and fleas are, so we might forget they exist. Pets and children are likely to pick up worms from contaminated soil. The majority of worms live off blood and partially digested food in the intestines. Infection can cause blood loss, anaemia and seriously threaten lives. Avoid this by cleaning up after your dog, whether at home or out in a park, washing hands and de-worming both your four legged and two legged family members.
There are a number of these internal parasites found in South Africa. Dipylidium caninum, commonly known as the tapeworm, can cause severe lack of minerals and vitamins in your pet. It attaches to the intestinal wall of your dog by means of suckers. The end of the tail holds the eggs which are be excreted by the host. These eggs are then consumed by fleas. The fleas are ingested by dogs, usually as they de-flea themselves, thus perpetuating the life cycle of the tapeworm.
There are other endoparasites which grow into adult worms of various sizes in the intestine of the host. Roundworms and Whipworms enter the host via the eating of faeces or carcass of a previously infected animal. Hookworms may penetrate through the skin or footpads of the host.
Spirocerca Lupi, and Dirofilaria immitis have become a serious threat in tropical or subtropical regions. Spirocerca Lupi, commonly known as ‘the worm in the throat’, is prevalent in South Africa. The larvae enter the gastric mucosa of the host, from where they move, via arteries, to the thoracic aorta where they mature. The mature worms migrate across the oesophagus where they live in nodules, mate and lay eggs.
To avoid infection deworm your pets every three months. If you require further information, contact your veterinarian.