De-worming is the process of expelling intestinal or parasitic worms from the body by administering an anthelmintic medication. Worms can lead to a variety of health issues and a severe decline if they become overloaded or infested.
Routine fecal examinations and regular heartworm preventatives are the primary steps of controlling internal parasites in your dog. All dogs carry worms but working Gamprs may be exposed to more intestinal parasites than the average dog, considering they may encounter dead animals and the droppings of other dogs or wild animals. Scavenging can also increases a dog’s risk of picking up intestinal worms and other parasites.
There are 5 types of worms that generally affect dogs:
Hookworms - A common parasite with hook-like teeth which attach themselves to your dogs intestinal lining, where it feeds on blood and can cause severe anemia. Hookworms are passed in the feces, and can infect other animals and people too. They can multiply by the thousands in just a few days.
Roundworms - Can be found in contaminated soil and feces, both of which some dogs are apt to eat and spread dog to dog and also via hosts like roaches, rodents, chickens and earthworms. Symptoms can include colic, vomiting, lethargy and more.
Tapeworms - A segmented worm which looks like a grain of rice, most commonly transmitted via fleas. Tapeworms feed off of partially digested food in the intestines, which robs a dog of much needed nutrients and vitamins. Symptoms aren't very common but could include abdominal pain, vomiting and more.
Whipworms - Also lives in infected soil, picked up from licking their paws or burrowing their nose. They live in the large intestine, where they cause irritation, inflammation and possibly severe damage to the organs. Whipworms are considered one of the most harmful dog worms in existence. Symptoms of whipworm overload include chronic watery diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, and weight loss.
Heartworms - Is transmitted by infected mosquitos and if left untreated, will multiply in your dog's heart and lung area. Dogs with heartworms will have a dry, persistent cough. During the early stage of heartworms, your dog may cough after exercise. This is because the heartworm parasites are migrating into the lungs, thus creating a blockage of oxygenated blood. The bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease and heartworms are active in all 50 states. A blood test can determine whether your dog has heartworms, which is required prior to beginning any heartworm regimen.
Other common symptoms that may indicate worms in dogs is being lethargic, having a dull or rough coat or pot-bellied stomach, a change in appetite including weight loss and skin irritations.
Not every de-wormer works on every type of worm. Some areas of the country have even become resistant to certain medications. Over the counter products may kill some common worms but the most effective de-wormer for your Gampr may need to be prescribed by a vet. It is best to have a fecal sample analyzed to know exactly what is going on with your Gampr and treat with the de-wormer that works in your area.
To be able to ensure treatment is being used efficiently it’s important to determine the correct dosage based on your dog's weight. Your vet can advise you on the best schedule for your individual dog and area but a general guideline is as follows:
Puppies are de-wormed at 2 weeks old and every two weeks after until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until 6 months old.
Older dogs and adults are de-wormed every 3 months unless they are at increased risk, then should be treated monthly
A dog’s fecal sample should be examined every 2- 4 months
Dogs should be tested every year for heartworm and after a negative heartworm test, on a routine preventive medication. Never give heartworm medication to a dog without a heartworm test.
For prevention and to get a worm overload under control, practice good hygiene by removing outdoor feces regularly, washing or changing out bedding often, and disinfecting food and water bowls daily.
Playing in mud is a favorite Gampr past time. Ani, owner Laura S., OH