September 25, 2020

Worm Treatment

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Spike's first and second worm treatments were actually with the breeders, the second treatment being the day before we collected him. So this post is about his first worm treatment with us.

What are worms?

There are actually several types of worms that dogs can get in the UK. Let's go through them in order of most common first.

Roundworms

There are two types of roundworm which is the most common type. They are Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina. The larvae start off infecting the intestinal tract but the canis larvae move to the lungs where they develop and target the airways.

Once they are coughed up and swallowed they return to the intestinal tract. Roundworms grow to around 12cm in length and appear long and thin like spaghetti.

How can your puppy catch them? Puppies can pick them up through infected faeces or contaminated soil. They can even infect humans so help yourself and your family stay healthy by worming your puppy.

Hookworms

These are quite nasty as they feed on your puppies blood. They are short and have teeth which are used to hook themselves onto the intestinal wall. They can be dangerous to puppies as they suck large amounts of nutrients from the host.

These are uncommon in the UK but are found in Europe. Puppies can catch them when suckling from their mothers.

Tapeworms

These are more often found in adult dogs than puppies and are spread by inflected fleas. The puppy or adult dog swallows them and becomes infected. They can grow up to 16 feet long and when passed the worm is broken up and shows up looking like white grains of rice.

In the early stages they are not very harmful but they do absorb nutrients as they are being digested in the intestine. The longer they are the more harm they can do. Humans also get tapeworms and if you have had a search on YouTube you can scare yourself silly by finding the longest one ever removed from a person.

Whipworms

Not so common in the UK but found in other places. They burrow into the puppies intestinal tissue in the large intestine and causing the most harm.

Treatment Schedule

Puppies need to be wormed twice which usually happens before you take them home in the UK. They are 'wormed' when they are five weeks old then again at eight weeks. You are not legally allowed to take a puppy home before 8 weeks old.

Their third treatment which is the first one we will do is given at 12 weeks old. You then do them every four weeks until they are six months old and from then on its every three months for the rest of their lives.

Having never fed Spike a worm pill we were not really sure how to get him to eat it. He is quite a fussy eater so we googled a few ideas to try and get some inspiration.

Ideas to Try

One idea suggested was to accidentally drop the pill on the floor and act as if you did not want him to get it. He didn't fall for it. In fact he barely walked over gave it a sniff and walked off.

Next idea was to hide it in some food. This didn't work either. He must have felt the crunch of the pill between his teeth, decided it might be bone or something else he shouldn't swallow and then spat it out.

I even wrapped it up in some cheese but just like the hiding it in food idea, he found it, ate the cheese and spat out the pill. 

Final Attempt

In a last ditch attempt and as the partially dissolved and now split in two pill was a bit smaller I put each piece into a chewy treat. I had to squash it in but he eventually managed to eat the first half. The second half he noticed and I had to get another treat and try again which eventually worked.

This was much more difficult that I thought it would be. Possibly due to him being quite picky with food but also just not knowing how other people manage to get their puppies to take the pill.

Hopefully the second attempt in four weeks time will be a bit easier, possibly with a few new techniques to try. 

About the author 

Charles

I'm Charles, a first time dog and French Bulldog owner but this site isn't about me. It's all about my brand new puppy called Spike. He is a Kennel Club registered pedigree French Bulldog. I intend to blog about Spike, his life and our journey learning about being a new dog owner.

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