Is Your Dog Exposed To Parasites?

  • 17/12/2019
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The natural world is full of parasites, little creepy-crawlies that feed, reproduce, and depend on larger ‘host’ animals. In many cases, this is a natural part of life. But some especially nasty parasites can make us and our pets very ill, and can be avoided. 

Here are some common parasites that can make your dog unwell, and what you can do to prevent or treat them:
 

Toxoplasmosis

 

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This parasite is one of the most common, and lives in the gut of healthy cats and (some) dogs. A lot of pets are ‘infected’ with it but don’t show any symptoms or signs of being unwell. However, sometimes, if a dog does not have the parasite naturally, it can catch it and fall ill. 

 

Cats will be the main culprit here. If you have a cat, do not let the dog sniff around its litter box, or anywhere the cat defecates. Keeping them apart can be difficult, but it is also the best way to prevent any illnesses.

The symptoms of infection range from vomiting, tremors, to loss of muscle function. If you think your dog has toxoplasmosis, your vet should be able to prescribe antibiotics to help it recover. 

Toxoplasmosis can infect humans, too. So always handle cat waste with caution.
 

Ticks

 

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These little creatures inhabit the UK countryside and bite into humans and dogs alike to drink their blood. You can prevent them by checking your dog for ticks after a long walk, especially if that walk was through long grass or woodland. Ticks are easy to spot and are a fat and ugly sight after a blood feed. Check your dog’s ears, head, neck, groin and feet for small bumps where they are likely to feast. They can make your dog lame, and feverish.

 

One way to prevent them is to avoid long, grassy, overgrown areas. Ticks can be a problem in the garden, so make sure to keep the grass short and the trees pruned. And remember to routinely check your dog. If your dog has been abroad with you, then watch out for the dreaded Brown Dog Tick. It’s not only a pest, but it reproduce and thrive independently in the house.

Resist the temptation to remove ticks as they are feeding — it can be painful to your dog, and may cause them to regurgitate diseased blood back into your dog’s body. If in doubt, call your vet.  

Cryptosporidium 

 

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This microscopic parasite thrives in contaminated water and can dehydrate your dog, and give it diarrhoea among other things. It can also spread and make humans very ill. Do not let your dog drink anything you wouldn’t drink. 

 

To aid recovery, give your dog plenty of fluids and a high-fibre diet. If your dog isn’t showing signs of recovery after 3 days, you may need antiparasitic medication. In that case, give your vet a call. 

This article was written by Neil Wright of Pure Freedom, a company that manufactures window cleaning systems for professional cleaners. 

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