Dogs: Health And Illness
The worms that affect dogs are roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm and whipworm. They are all common; and it’s for this reason that you should worm your puppy from an early age. At the Pet Centre we use the Drontol brand of worm control. Cheaper brands available from supermarket outlets often don’t work properly. The major worm types can be summed up briefly:
- Roundworm—puppies are almost invariably born with roundworm infection acquired from their mother during pregnancy. A heavy infestation of roundworm can make a puppy very unwell with symptoms including coughing, irregularity of bowel movements, vomiting, potbelly & diarrhoea. The worms are greyish-white in colour and spaghetti-like in shape. They can be seen occasionally in the puppy’s droppings after worming, but are more usually seen when vomited. This worm can be transmitted to people, particularly children.
- Tapeworm—infecting 70% of dogs, the flea tapeworm is the most common variety. Dogs are usually infected while grooming themselves by swallowing a flea infected with the tapeworm. Worm segments look like grains of rice and sometimes move. They cause irritation to the dog’s anal area causing the animal to scoot its bottom along the ground for relief. The hydatid tapeworm, meanwhile, almost never occurs in urban dogs. Infections in this case are caused by the dog ingesting infected, uncooked offal containing hydatid cysts.
- Hookworm—this is another common worm with a notorious blood sucking nature. More serious than roundworm, this worm can also cause dermatitis in dogs.
- Whipworm—is a particularly common worm that causes ill thrift in dogs.
To keep your puppy healthy and free of worms, treat it with a broad spectrum wormer at four, six, eight and twelve weeks of age, and then every three months thereafter.
Improve your pet’s quality of life by ridding it of fleas. A good cure should eliminate the fleas but not harm you or your dog. Many commercial flea programs are available but only a few are suitable for young puppies. Your Vet can assist you in making the right choice. Also check regularly to ensure that your home is clear of fleas. A flea-bomb used once a year can prevent the arrival of unwanted guests. Flea Bombs kill the adult fleas and prevent flea eggs and larvae from developing into mature adults. Overall, the best Flea control for your dog are the Advantage and Frontline brands of liquid applicator obtained only from your local Vet.
The following deadly diseases in dogs can be controlled by vaccinations. Your Vet will give your puppy a course of 3 Vaccinations which will give him or her protection against all the diseases below. Your puppy will have received his or her first Vaccination before you get him or her. The Vaccination Certificate will tell you puppies next vaccination is due.
- Distemper—this is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks every tissue in the body. Signs of distemper are similar to a cold with an accompanying fever. Sometimes it causes pneumonia, running red eyes, runny nose and diarrhoea. With treatment the dog may recover—or else more serious symptoms, such as recurrent convulsions, will lead to death.
- Hepatitis—occurs as a viral disease spread by contact with an infected animal, its faeces or urine. The disease affects the liver and kidneys and is characterized by high fever, depression and lack of appetite. Hepatitis is most serious in young animals.
- Parvovirus—attacks an affected animal’s intestinal tract. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding and collapse. Prompt veterinary care is essential for a recovery, though likelihood of death is high.
- Kennel Cough—appears as a respiratory disease caused by one of a number of organisms. It’s not usually life threatening but can cause a nasty cough; and the disease is contagious enough to allow rapid passage through a kennel of dogs.
- Letospirosis—is a bacterial disease often carried in the urine of infected rats which is indirectly transmitted to dogs. This disease attacks the liver and kidneys; and was a deadly killer before the vaccine arrived.
Puppies undergo a series of vaccinations beginning at six weeks of age. These are repeated at four week intervals until the pup has reached 18 weeks. When your pup is first vaccinated your vet will explain the exact schedule of vaccinations. Vaccinations are required once a year throughout a dog’s life.