For the purpose of this module we will break it down into the three separate categories as indicated by the title. Whilst inter related it is important to understand each individually.
1.1 What are fleas?
1.2 How do you tell if your dog has fleas?
1.3 How do dogs get fleas?
1.4 Why is it important to treat and prevent fleas?
1.5 Why do fleas spread so quickly?
1.6 The lifecycle explained…
1.7 How do you protect your pet from fleas?
1.8 Products to rid fleas on your pet
2.1 What are paralysis ticks?
2.2 How are ticks spread?
2.3 How do paralysis ticks affect dogs?
2.4 How is tick paralysis treated?
2.5 How do I prevent ticks on my pet?
2.6 How do I remove a tick?
2.7 Products to rid Ticks on your pet
3.1 Worming schedule
3.7 Products to get rid of Intestinal worms in your pet
Do you struggle keeping your dog flea free all year round? Don’t be alarmed because you are not the only one! Although the warmer months tend to be when fleas are getting ready to attack our pets and make their lives itchy and uncomfortable, they can also inflict irritation during the winter months.
The answer to a flea free dog is simple; prevention all year round. Understanding more about fleas and the way the work might also unlock some answers as to why you struggle keeping fleas off your dogs.
Fleas are tiny dark brown parasitic insects that infest the coat and skin of dogs. They have an amazing skill allowing them to jump up to 150 times their own length. That’s like a human jumping over 300 metres. Their remarkable jumping skills allow them to transit easily in the surrounding environment. The flea is the humble cat flea. It is everywhere spread by other animals like possums and cats as well as other dogs.
One of the first signs of a flea infestation is that your pet will be scratching and seem quite irritated especially around the base of the tail or backs of their hind legs. Parting the fur for a closer examination you could find adult fleas on the skin. You are likely to find flea dirt that looks like small black specks of grit, similar to finely ground pepper. This is actually digested dried blood. If you are unsure as to whether the black stuff is flea dirt or just dirt, place it on a wet tissue – if around the dirt turns red, it’s flea dirt. 10 adult fleas can multiply to more than 250,000 fleas in only 30 days.
Flea eggs and pupae can remain dormant for astonishingly long periods of time under a variety of conditions. They lay dormant in the garden, or in your carpet and furniture, until the conditions are favourable to hatch. From there they jump great distances to find a host on which to feed. They travel on pets, wildlife (such as possums) and even on people and don’t care who or what they bite! This is why it is so important to treat your dog all year round. Whilst you may find a flea on your dog it it is being treated the flea cannot breed it will die so the cycle stops. Bombing your house will not solve the problem as when they are in the pupae form they are cacooned safely and will re-emerge this is usually written on the fine print of the cans.
Fleas are the number one cause of skin disease in dogs and can cause problems ranging from simple itchiness to weeping sores, scaly skin and a strong smell. Some pets are even allergic to flea bites (a condition known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis), where the saliva from one flea bite sets off a whole body allergic reaction, making the dog miserable. All skin conditions require veterinary treatment.
Fleas also are the host of an intestinal worm called a tapeworm. This worm can be transmitted into the gut by ingesting a flea (such as when the dog is chewing at its fur). Unfortunately tapeworms can also be transmitted to humans where they can cause health problems. This is another reason fleas should be controlled on our dogs.
Fleas can also cause Anemia in a dog if they are infested and it is not dealt with.
Fleas breed at a phenomenal rate. 10 adult fleas can multiply to more than 250,000 fleas in only 30 days.
The fleas you see on your dog represent only 5% of the fleas in the environment. The rest of the population is represented in the egg and larval stages found in your carpets, furniture, bedding and around the garden.
Adult fleas jump onto your dog, feed on their blood and then start laying eggs.
One female lays up to 50 eggs per day which drop into carpets, bedding or garden soil before hatching.
The hatched eggs release larvae which move away from light, deeper into carpets and under furniture before developing into pupae.
This lifecycle can take as little as 2-3 weeks and as long as 12 months. For effective flea control it is essential to break the lifecycle in the environment. To rid your household from fleas, prevention is the key to flea control. There are many different flea products available today and the options can be confusing. When choosing a flea preventative, look at coat type, age of the dog, your lifestyle and your capabilities need to be considered.
When undertaking flea control you have to consider the various stages of the lifecycle. In severe infestations
it is sometimes necessary to treat both the dog and the environment. However, due to the effectiveness of modern flea insecticides, treatment of your dog is often all that is needed.
These are generally very easy to apply in most dogs, water fast and leave little smell or residue on the coat. They generally last for 3-4weeks at a time and some have integrated tick or heartworm prevention included.
Daily tablets for quick knockdown. Good for severe infestations to give instant relief or for prevention of flea infestation in premises that are flea free.
Some work as an effective birth control for fleas, hence stopping the life cycle process. Other newer products have ingredients that kill fleas as soon as they jump on the pet.
Kill fleas that are on your pet but offer no residual protection.
Adopt control strategies including: Vacuum the carpet 2-3 times a week to remove eggs and empty the vacuum bag afterward, wash pets blankets weekly (on a hot wash in the washing machine), spray the house, kennels and yards with an adult flea killer weekly and fog the house every 3 months to prevent larvae developing.
Unfortunately the flea pupae are extremely resistant to all preventative measures and the only way to kill that part of the lifecycle is to wait for them to develop into adult fleas and then kill them.
Generally it has been shown that if an integrated flea control program is undertaken, flea numbers will greatly reduce in the first 3-6 months but control must be maintained for at least 12months (or forever) to ensure a “spike” or hatch of pupae doesn’t restart the process all over again.
Ticks are everywhere – they are spread by most native animals as a first host – primarily possums. There are many different types from brown ticks to cattle ticks. The one of most concern those is the Australian eastern seaboard paralysis tick which is the deadliest tick in the world and the one we will be discussing.
Ticks are small parasites that inhabit mainly scrubby areas in the warmer, humid months of the year. They are found up & down the coast of South eastern Australia where the conditions are favourable. They feed off warm blooded animals for nutrition & to breed, injecting a toxin into that animal as they do so.
Tick require a vector or “a lift” as they can’t travel very far on their own. They can however sense that a host is approaching and jump toward them. Ticks travel on any warm blooded creature including possums, bandicoots, birds, humans, dogs and cats. They detach & fall off once they’ve had a blood feed which is how they spread from place to place.
Ticks attach to your dog and inject a toxin as they feed. The toxin is absorbed into the blood and then gradually diffuses into the nervous system, causing progressive paralysis of all muscles, including the chest muscles, the larynx or throat muscles and the heart (which is of course a muscle). The toxin also causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs.
The early signs of tick paralysis often suggest that your dog may have something caught in its throat or the back legs seem a little wobbly. Other commonly noticed changes are vomiting, heavy breathing with a grunt and alteration to your pets vocal sounds. While signs vary from patient to patient the usual course is a progressive paralysis with subsequent loss of use of back and front legs. Some animals, especially cats, may become distressed, anxious and confused. Eventually there is an inability to breathe in enough oxygen as the lungs develop fluid congestion and chest muscles become paralysed.
It can take up to 72hrs for the poison to affect your dog depending on the size, health etc of your dog. It can also take up to 72hrs for the poison to kill the tick – so even if the tick dies you have up to 3 days poison in your dog to take effect – get them to a vet.
When an animal becomes fully paralysed, the chance of saving them is greatly reduced.
Treatment is by hospitalisation and multiple therapies including an injection of tick antitoxin, sedatives and in some cases, intravenous fluids, antibiotics and oxygen. It can take up to 24hrs to see any improvement & several days to reverse the sign of paralysis. The success rate is higher if tick toxicity is treated early at the very first symptoms.
It can only be done a few times and each time will cost you in excess of $2000 – prevention is better than cure.
As with most diseases, prevention is better than treatment. There is no one treatment guaranteed to stop your dog getting ticks but we can reduce the likelihood and ensure that any tick that does attach is killed before it has come to cause severe problems. For dogs, there are tick collars, top-spots and spray products available to prevent tick attachment. Cats are much more sensitive to chemicals, so there are no licensed preventatives for cats; daily searching is recommended and some flea products are better than nothing.
Whatever product you choose to use on your pet, the most important thing is to physically check your pet for ticks every day. Run your fingertips through the coat systematically checking the whole skin surface. Most ticks will attach around the head, neck, chest and shoulders but they can be sneaky and attach anywhere even inside the mouth and between to toes.
There is a correct way and a wrong way refer to the diagram.
These are generally very easy to apply in most dogs, water fast and leave little smell or residue on the coat. They generally last for 2 weeks.
Given to your dog every month or 3 depending on the product. Some are more effective than others.
Kill ticks that are on your pet but offer no residual protection.
Offer some protection can last up to 3 months – each collar offers different protection.
Intestinal worms are parasites that all pet owners should worry about. Regular routine worming is so important yet it is often overlooked. As a rule, all puppies and kittens need to be wormed every two weeks until 12 weeks of age, then every months until they reach 6 months of age and then every 3 months for the rest of their life.
Intestinal worms from our pets can be transferred to other family members and children, elderly and people are immunocompromised are at a higher risk. Up to 50% of dogs and cats are thought to be carriers of gastrointestinal parasites.
In Australia, dogs and cats can get infected with hookworms, roundworms, whip worm and tapeworm. The microscopic eggs and hookworm larvae can end up on dog’s and cat’s feet. In most cases dogs and cats can become infected with parasites when they clean and lick their own feet. It then takes a few weeks for the eggs or larvae to mature then the eggs are present in the pet’s faeces. If your dog licks his bottom and then licks your child, or if your child pets your dog, he or she can become infected with these parasites.
Pregnant cats and dogs should be wormed at mating then at about week 6 of pregnancy.
It is also important to prevent contamination of your yard. Picking up dog faeces. Remember to always wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards. Also keep bowls and bedding clean and free of faecal contamination.
There are 2 species of hookworm which affect dogs in Australia – Ancylostoma spp and Uncinaria spp. The adult worms are tiny worms, 16mm long and very thin, which live attached to the intestine of dogs, cats and people. In reasonable numbers they can cause illness and even death.
The eggs (or ova) can be directly ingested by mouth from faecal contaminated food or ground or transmitted to puppies via the mother’s placenta before birth, or in milk from their mother. Hatched larvae can penetrate directly through skin or eaten by a rodent, which is then eaten by your pet. The adult worms attach to the small intestine and feed off blood and the intestinal wall.
Young puppies are the most severely affected by hookworm although dogs and cats of any age can be carriers and/or become ill. The clinical signs are diarrhoea, often with blood and mucous, anaemia, lethargy and poor coat condition. Young puppies may fail to thrive, never reach their size potential and in severe cases will die. Puppies as young as 1-2 weeks old can be affected due to transmission of hookworm in colostrum from untreated mothers.
A faecal sample can be tested by your vet clinic for hookworm eggs. Hookworms produce a large number of eggs and can usually be easily identified.
Eliminating the worm with an effective wormer and then a regular worming regime is the treatment. This is because larval stages as well as newly picked up worms are not killed by the first dose. If your puppy is anaemic or very lethargic, then they may need to be hospitalised and given a life saving blood transfusion.
Preventing hookworm burdens is very important in Queensland and much more satisfactory for you and your pet than dealing with a hookworm infection. Hookworm can be easily prevented by worming with a good quality wormer (eg. Drontal) and following an appropriate regime
Hookworm can also infect people by burying through undamaged skin or by oral ingestion of contaminated material. Standard hygiene practices should be followed at all times ie. Wear gloves when cleaning up after your pet and wash your hands before eating.
Dirofilaria immitis, the heartworm or dog heartworm, is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. The heartworm is a type of filarial worm, a small thread-like worm, that causes filariasis. The definitive host is the dog, but it can also infect cats, wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, and other animals, such as ferrets, bears, sea lions and even, under very rare circumstances, humans. The parasite is commonly called “heartworm”; however, adults often reside in the pulmonary arterial system (lung arteries), as well as the heart, and a major effect on the health for the animal is a manifestation of damage to the lung vessels and tissues.Occasionally, adult heartworms migrate to the right heart and even the great veins in heavy infections. Heartworm infection may result in serious disease for the host, with death typically as the result of congestive heart failure.
Heartworms go throughout several life stages before they become adults infecting the pulmonary artery of the host animal. The worms require the mosquito as an intermediate stage to complete their lifecycles. The rate of development in the mosquito is temperature-dependent, requiring about two weeks of temperature at or above 27 °C (80 °F). Below a threshold temperature of 14 °C (57 °F), development cannot occur, and the cycle is halted. As a result, transmission is limited to warm weather, and duration of the transmission season varies geographically. The period between the initial infection when the dog is bitten by a mosquito and the maturation of the worms into adults living in the heart takes six to seven months in dogs and is known as the “prepatent period”.
After infection, the third-stage larval heartworms deposited by the mosquito grow for a week or two and molt to the fourth larval stage (L4) under the skin at the site of the mosquito bite. Then, they migrate to the muscles of the chest and abdomen, and 45 to 60 days after infection, molt to the fifth stage (L5, immature adult). Between 75 and 120 days after infection, these immature heartworms then enter the bloodstream and are carried through the heart to reside in the pulmonary artery. Over the next three to four months, they increase greatly in size. The female adult worm is about 30 cm in length, and the male is about 23 cm, with a coiled tail. By seven months after infection, the adult worms have mated and the females begin giving birth to live young, called microfilariae.
The microfilariae circulate in the bloodstream for as long as two years, waiting for the next stage in their lifecycles in the gut of a bloodsucking mosquito. When ingested by a mosquito, the microfilariae undergo a series of molts to the infective third larval stage, and then migrate to the salivary glands of the mosquito, where they wait to infect another host. The incubation period required to reach the stage where the microfilariae become transmittable to another host can be as little as two weeks or as long as six weeks, depending on the warmth of the climate, and the larval lifecycle ceases entirely if the ambient temperature drops below 14 °C (57 °F).
Your puppy will be covered as long as you are following your monthly worming schedule. You will then be given an option of getting a yearly injection or treating monthly. If your dog has not been treated or you do not know you will need to get a test done by a vet so you don’t accidentally kill your dog if it has heartworm. If your dog is ridiled with heartworm the worms will die blocking the heart causing a heart attack.
Trichuris vulpis is a whipworm that lives in the large intestine of canines in its adult stages. Out of different types of worms, Trichuris vulpis is one of the smaller worms with a size ranging from 30–50 mm in length. As the name suggests, the worm has a whip-like shape with distinct features including a small, narrow anterior head, which is the digestive part of the worm, and a larger posterior tail, which is the reproductive part of the worm. Eggs from T. vulpis are oval shaped with bipolar plugs and contain a thick outer shell. Their sizes range from 72–90 μm in length and 32–40 μm in width. Because of their thick outer shell, T. vulpis eggs are very resistant to environmental extremes such as freezing or hot temperatures, thus allowing for their long viability in the outside world.
The life cycle of Trichuris vulpis begins with the adult whipworms living in the large intestines of dogs. T. vulpis lay many eggs in the large intestine and are released in the feces into the outside environment. When eggs are released into the outside environment, these unembryonated eggs are able to form embryos in the soil in about 2–4 weeks, at which point they become infective when ingested by the new host. An infective larva develops within the egg before it is even ingested by the new host.
Another canine becomes a new host by ingesting the egg containing the larva. Once ingested, the egg invade the cells of the Crypts of Leiberkuhn in the colon. The J3 larvae grow and molt while burrowing in the epithelium toward the luminal surface. These worms can invade intestinal cells in many places, but there is no evidence that worms can develop to maturity except in the cells of the colon, or that worms develop in the duodenum and migrate to the colon. Once an adult, their posterior end enlarges (the ‘handle of a whip’) and bursts into the lumen of the colon. The whip-like anterior end remains in the cells of the large intestinal walls. Adult whipworms live inside the cecum, colon, and rectum for about three months before they lay eggs intermittently to be released in feces where they can become infective to another host.
Because the eggs of T. vulpis eggs are very resistant from desiccation, they can live in soil for up to seven years. Once ingested by the canine, the eggs hatch and the resulted larvae live in the small intestine. At this point, though infected, the canine is still asymptomatic. When adult form, T. vulpis live primarily in the cecum with its anterior end attached to the superficial mucosa and its posterior end extended to the cecal lumen where it consumes the canine’s blood, tissue fluid, and mucosal epithelium. Results of eosinophilia and hypoproteinemia may be found in clinical hematology. Severe infections include symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, weight loss, dehydration, and anemia, and in extreme cases, death.
In the rare cases that T. vulpis infects humans, it can cause visceral larva migrans (VLM) which presents as eosinophilia, hepatomegaly, and pulmonary symptoms. More cases of VLM have been documented in children with the diagnosis based on the larger size of the eggs found in stool samples. However, cases have been documented in adults as well.
Infection of this parasite can be confirmed with detection of eggs in the canine’s feces. Adult T. vulpis females can produce more than 2,000 eggs per day. These eggs can be detected in the canine’s feces by the fecal flotation method. This method utilizes the differences of specific gravity of eggs, fecal debris, and the flotation solution. Although these eggs are dense, the use of proper fecal flotation technique using a sugar solution and centrifugation can increase the chances of identifying these eggs in a fecal sample.Multiple fecal samples may need to be tested as the eggs may be shed periodically.
Infection of this parasite can be treated in several ways. There is a single treatment with includes a combination of febantel, pyrantel and praziquantel. There is also a monthly treatment with the administration of combination drugs as well.
Keeping canines away from contaminated areas, especially areas where there are feces can prevent them from contracting T. vulpis. There is no effective way to kill the parasite’s eggs in the soil, so it is might be necessary to replace the soil and cleaning out litter boxes and kennels frequently. People cleaning these areas should wear gloves and wash their hands after task.
Dogs should have fecal examinations and deworming as necessary. If a dog is detected to be infected with T. vulpis, it should be treated immediately to prevent infection of other dogs. Their feces should also be cleaned up immediately in order to prevent the eggs from getting into the soil which could lead to the infection of others.
Dipylidium caninum, also called the flea tapeworm, double-pore tapeworm, or cucumber tapeworm (in reference to the shape of its cucumber-seed-like proglottids, though these also resemble grains of rice or sesame seeds), is a cyclophyllid cestode that infects organisms afflicted with fleas and canine chewing lice, including dogs, cats, and sometimes human pet-owners, especially children.
The adult worm is about 18 inches (46 cm) long. Gravid proglottids containing the worm’s microscopic eggs are either passed in the definitive host’s feces or may leave their host spontaneously and are then ingested by microscopic flea larvae (the intermediate hosts) in the surrounding environment. As in all members of family Dipylidiidae, proglottids of the adult worm have genital pores on both sides (hence the name double-pore tapeworm). Each side has a set of male and female reproductive organs. The uterus is paired with 16 to 20 radial branches each. The scolex has a retractable rostellum with four rows of hooks, along with the four suckers that all cyclophyllid cestodes have.
The definitive host within this lifecycle is primarily canines, and occasionally felines, and in rare cases young children. The intermediate hosts include fleas (Ctenocephalides spp.) and chewing lice. The first stage in the lifecycle is when the gravid proglottids are either passed out through fecal matter, or actively crawl out of the anus of the host. The gravid proglottids once out of the definitive host release eggs. Then, an intermediate host will ingest an egg, which develops into a cysticercoid larva. The adult flea or louse will then harbor the infective cysticercoid until a definitive host, such as a dog, becomes infected by ingesting an infected flea or louse while grooming themselves. Humans can also become infected by D. caninum by accidentally ingesting an infected flea. In the small intestine of the definitive host, the cysticercoid develops into an adult tapeworm, which reaches maturity about one month after infection. This adult tapeworm produces proglottids, and over time, the proglottids mature and become gravid and eventually detach from the tapeworm and the lifecycle starts all over again.
Tapeworm infection usually does not cause pathology in the dog or cat, and most pets show no adverse reaction to infection other than increased appetite. The other tapeworm infecting cats is Taenia taeniaeformis, though this form is much less commonly encountered than D. caninum.
A human infection with D. caninum is rare, but if an infection does occur, it is more likely to occur in young children. Only 16 cases have been reported of D. caninum infections in humans within the last 20 years, and almost all of the cases were found in children. Young children and toddlers are at a greater risk of infection because of how they interact with their pets. A human may attain an infection by accidentally ingesting an infected flea through food contamination or through the saliva of pets. Most infections are asymptomatic, but sometimes these symptoms may be identified in an infected individual: mild diarrhea, abdominal colic, anorexia, restlessness, constipation, rectal itching, and pain due to emerging proglottids through the anal cavity.
As with most tapeworm infections, the drugs of choice are niclosamide or praziquantel. The best way to prevent human infection is to treat infected animals with products which aid in killing the fleas on the animal.
Toxocara canis (also known as dog roundworm) is worldwide-distributed helminth parasite of dogs and other canids. Toxocara canis is gonochoristic, adult worms measure from 9 to 18 cm, are yellow-white in color, and occur in the intestine of the definitive host. In adult dogs, the infection is usually asymptomatic. By contrast, massive infection with Toxocara canis can be fatal in puppies.
As paratenic hosts, a number of vertebrates, including humans, and some invertebrates can become infected. Humans are infected, like other paratenic hosts, by ingestion of embryonated T. canis eggs. The disease (called Toxocariasis) caused by migrating T. canis larvae (toxocariasis) results in two syndromes: visceralis larva migrans and ocularis larva migrans. Owing to transmission of the infection from the mother to her puppies, preventive anthelmintic treatment of newborn puppies is strongly recommended. Several antihelmintic drugs are effective against adult worms, for example pyrantel, fenbendazole, selamectin.
The adult canis has a round body with spiky cranial and caudal parts, covered by yellow cuticula. The cranial part of the body contains two lateral alae (length 2–3.5 mm, width 0.1 mm). Male worms measure 9–13 by 0.2–0.25 cm and female worms 10–18 by 0.25–0.3 cm. T. canis eggs have oval or spherical shapes with granulated surfaces, are thick-walled, and measure from 72 to 85 μm.
Eggs are deposited in feces of dogs becoming infectious after 2–4 weeks. Dogs ingest infectious eggs allowing the eggs to hatch and the larval form of the parasite to penetrate through the gut wall. In young dogs, the larvae move through the body via the bloodstream by penetrating a blood vessel in the gut wall. Once in the lungs, the larvae enter into the alveoli and crawl up the trachea. The larvae are then coughed up and swallowed leading back down to the small intestine. The larvae encyst in gut wall tissues within older dogs. The cysts can reactivate in pregnant females to infect puppies either through the placenta in utero or the mammary glands in colostrum and milk. Another possible route of infection is the ingesting of paratenic hosts that contain encysted larvae from egg consumption thus completing the life cycle for the parasite to re-infect its definite host, the dog.
Four modes of infection are associated with this species. These modes of infection include direct transmission, prenatal transmission, paratenic transmission, and transmammary transmission. The basic form is direct transmission and is typical to all ascaroides, with the egg containing the L2(the second larval developmental stage) being infective, at optimal temperature and humidity, four weeks after secreted in the feces to the environment. After ingestion and hatching in the small intestine, the L2 larvae travel through the portal blood stream into the liver and lungs. Such migratory route is known as enterohepatic pulmonar larval migration. The second molt takes place in the lungs, the now L3 larvae return via the trachea and into the intestines, where the final two molts take place. This form of infection occurs regularly only in dogs up to three months of age.
In older dogs, this type of migration occurs less frequently, and at six months it is almost ceased. Instead, the L2 travel to a wide range of organs, including the liver, lungs, brain, heart and skeletal muscles, as well as to the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant female dogs, prenatal infection can occur, where larvae become mobilized (at about three weeks prior to parturition) and migrate through the umbilical vein to the lungs of the fetus, here molting into the L3 stage just prior to birth. In the newborn pup, the cycle is completed when the larvae migrate through the trachea and into the intestinal lumen, where the final molts take place. Once infected, a female dog will usually harbor sufficient larvae to subsequently infect all of her litters, even if she never again encounters an infection. A certain amount of the female dog’s dormant larvae penetrate into the intestinal lumen, where molting into adulthood takes place again, thus leading to a new release of eggs containing L1 larvae.
Transmammary transmission occurs when the suckling pup becomes infected by the presence of L3 larvae in the milk during the first three weeks of lactation. There is no migration in the pup via this route.
L2 larvae may also be ingested by a variety of animals like mice or rabbits, where they stay in a dormant stage inside the animals’ tissue until the intermediate host has been eaten by a dog, where subsequent development is confined to the gastrointestinal tract.
Consumption of eggs from feces-contaminated items is the most common method of infection for humans especially children and young adults under the age of 20 years. Although rare, being in contact with soil that contains infectious eggs can also cause human infection, especially handling soil with an open wound or accidentally swallowing contaminated soil, as well as eating under cooked or raw meat of an intermediate host of the parasite such as lamb or rabbit.
Humans can be infected by this roundworm, a condition called toxocariasis, just by stroking an infected dog’s fur and accidentally ingesting infective eggs that may be present on the dog’s fur. When humans ingest infective eggs, diseases like hepatomegaly, myocarditis, respiratory failure and vision problems can result depending on where the larva are deposited in the body. In humans, this parasite usually grows in the back of the eye, which can result in blindness, or in the liver or lungs. However, a 2004 study showed, of 15 infected dogs, only seven had eggs in their coats, and no more than one egg was found on each dog. Furthermore, only 4% of those eggs were infectious. Given the low concentration of fertile eggs on infected dogs’ coats (less than 0.00186% per gram), it is plausible that such eggs were transferred to the dog’s coat by contact with fecal deposites in the environment, making dog coats the passive transport host vehicle. However, although the risk of being infected by petting a dog is extremely limited, a single infected puppy can produce more than 100,000 roundworm eggs per gram of feces.
Humans suffering from visceral infection of T. canis, the drugs albendazole (preferred), mebendazole and thiabendazole are highly effective. For other treatments, see a physician or reference the disease pages: visceralis larva migrans and ocularis larva migrans. Anthelminithic drugs are used to treat infections in dogs and puppies for adult worms. The best treatment for puppies is pyrantel pamoate to prevent the larvae from reproducing and causing disease.
There are several ways to prevent a T. canis infection in both dogs and humans. Regular deworming by a veterinarian is important to stop canine re-infections, especially if the dog is frequently outdoors. Good practices to prevent human infections include: washing hands before eating and after disposing of animal feces in a timely manner as many disinfectants do not kill eggs, teaching children not to eat soil, and cooking meat to a safe temperature in order to kill potentially infectious eggs.
These are generally very easy to apply in most dogs, water fast and leave little smell or residue on the coat. They generally last for 4 weeks.
Given to your dog every month or 3 depending on the product. Some are more effective than others.
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the outer layers of the skin, hair and nails. In animals Microsporum sp. and Trichophyton sp. Are the most commonly seen. They are classified as geophilic (soil loving), zoophilic (animal loving) or anthrophilic (human loving).
Young animals as well as young children are more susceptible to infection.
In both small and large animals, fungal skin infections are usually self-limiting with spontaneous remission occuring within 1-3 months. However, treatment is always indicated to minimise the risk of spread of infection to humans (particularly children) and to other cats and dogs.
Canine scabies, also known as sarcoptic mange, in dogs, is caused by the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei. These microscopic mites can invade the skin of healthy dogs or puppies and create a variety of skin problems, the most common of which is hair loss and severe itching. While they will infect other animals and even humans, sarcoptic mites prefer to live their short lives on dogs. Fortunately, there are several good treatments for this mange and the disease can be easily controlled.
Canine scabies can infect all ages and breeds of dogs. While it prefers to live on dogs, this particular mite will also infect cats, ferrets, humans, and fox. Cats, fox, and humans all have their own particular species of mite within the Sarcoptes family. Each species of mite prefers one specific kind of host (e.g.; dog), but may also infect others.
The mites usually spend their entire life on a dog. The female mite burrows into the skin and lays eggs several times as she continues burrowing. These tunnels can actually reach the length of several centimeters. After she deposits the eggs, the female mite dies. In 3-8 days, the eggs hatch into larvae which have 6 legs. The larvae mature into nymphs which have 8 legs. The nymph then molts into an adult while it is still in the burrow. The adults mate, and the process continues. The entire life cycle requires 2-3 weeks.
The mites prefer to live on the dog, but will live for several days off of the host in the environment. In cool moist environments, they can live for up to 22 days. At normal room temperature in a home, they will live from 2 to 6 days. Because of the mite’s ability to survive off the host, dogs can become infected without ever coming into direct contact with an infected animal.
The symptoms of canine scabies are varied, but usually include hair loss and severe itching especially on the elbows, ears, armpits, hocks, chest, and ventral abdomen (belly). The mites prefer to live on areas of the skin that have less hair. As the infection worsens it can spread over the entire body. Small red pustules often develop along with yellow crusts on the skin. Because of the severe itching and resultant scratching, the skin soon becomes traumatized and a variety of sores and infections can develop as a result. The itching seems to be much worse in warm conditions such as indoors or near a stove or heat vent. If the infection goes untreated or is mistakenly treated as an allergy, the skin may darken due to the constant irritation, and the surrounding lymph nodes may become enlarged.
Sarcoptic mange is a somewhat common infection and many cases have often been misdiagnosed as severe atopy (inhalant allergy). Any time we see a dog who does not have a prior history of allergies and develops severe itching, or if the itching is not seasonal but year-round, we have to suspect canine scabies.
The intense itching caused by the sarcoptic mite is actually thought to be caused from a severe allergic reaction to the mite. When dogs are initially infected with Sarcoptes they do not develop itching for several weeks. If the animals are treated and then reinfected at a later time, severe itching starts almost immediately, which indicates the itching may be due to an allergic reaction. However, the standard treatments for allergies generally will not decrease the symptoms of scabies, and will do nothing to cure the disease.
Trying to make a diagnosis of canine scabies can be very frustrating. The standard method is to perform a skin scraping and then identify the mite under the microscope. Unfortunately, on average, only twenty percent of the infected dogs will show Sarcoptes mites on any given scraping. Therefore, if a dog has a positive skin scraping, the diagnosis is confirmed but a negative scraping does not rule out sarcoptic mange. Therefore, most diagnoses are made based on history and response to treatment for scabies.
There are several ways to treat scabies. In the past, the most effective treatment had been to clip the dog if he had long hair, bathe him with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo to cleanse the skin, and then apply an organophosphate dip (Paramite). Amitraz dips and Mitaban (also organophosphates), and lime sulfur dips (Lymdip) have also been used effectively. The dogs are usually dipped once every two weeks for two to three times. While effective, these dips are very unpleasant to apply for both the owner and the dog. Because the dip must come in contact with the mites and many mites live on the face and ears of dogs, great care must be exercised when applying these dips to these sensitive areas. The dips can be toxic to humans and are not suitable for very young, old, or debilitated animals. In addition, there are some reported cases of resistance to these dips in some cases of sarcoptic mange.
Fortunately, there are several other products that have been extremely effective, safe, and convenient in treating sarcoptic mange. Selamectin (Revolution) is a topical solution that is applied once a month and also provides heartworm prevention, flea control, some tick protection and protection against Sarcoptic mange. Frontline Plus, Frontline Top Spot, and Frontline Spray are also labelled for use as aids in controlling sarcoptic mange. Liquid ivermectin is an off label alternative that is sometimes used. It is used at much higher concentrations than are found in heartworm preventives (e.g., Heartgard). Ivermectin should not be used in Collies or Shetland sheep dogs and should be used with caution in the herding breeds. In dogs that are sensitive to ivermectin, some veterinarians have been having success using milbemycin oxime (Interceptor) at an off-label dose. All of these products should only be used under direct veterinary supervision and care.
In addition to treating the dog, the environment such as the dog’s bedding can be treated with a residual insecticide. Since Sarcoptes scabiei is easily transmitted between animals, all dogs in contact with an infected animal should also be treated. Because of the length of the life cycle and ability of the mite to live off of the animal, treatment must continue for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Because of the damage to the skin in sarcoptic mange, many dogs also have bacterial and or yeast infections. These need to be treated as well.
Because your dog does not have to come into direct contact with an infected dog to contract scabies, it is difficult to completely protect him. Places where large numbers of dogs congregate are obviously more likely to harbor the mange mite. Since fox and the environment in which fox may spend a large amount of time can transmit the mite to dogs, keep dogs away from fox and these areas.
Yes, although when humans get Sarcoptes scabei from animals, the disease is generally self-limiting, causing only temporary itching. There is a human species of Sarcoptes, which is transmitted from person to person. This human species of sarcoptic mite causes a rash on the wrists, elbows, or between the fingers. In infants, the rash may appear on the head, neck, or body.
Demodectic mange (also known as red mange, follicular mange, or puppy mange) is a skin disease, generally of young dogs, caused by the mite, Demodex canis. It may surprise you to know that demodectic mites of various species live on the bodies of virtually every adult dog and most human beings, without causing any harm or irritation. These small (0.25 mm) mites that look like microscopic alligators live inside of the hair follicles (i.e., the pore within the skin through which the hair shaft comes through), hence the name follicular mange. In humans, the mites usually are found in the skin, eyelids, and the creases of the nose.
Whether or not Demodex causes harm to a dog depends on the dog’s ability to keep the mite under control. Demodectic mange is not a disease of poorly kept or dirty kennels. It is generally a disease of young dogs that have inadequate or poorly developed immune systems or older dogs that are suffering from a suppressed immune system.
The demodectic mite spends its entire life on the dog. Eggs are laid by a pregnant female, hatch, and then mature from larvae to nymphs to adults. The life cycle is believed to take 20-35 days.
The mites are transferred directly from the mother to the puppies within the first week of life. Transmission of the mites is by direct contact only. That is, the mother and puppy must be physically touching, as the parasite cannot survive off of the animal. This is important because it means the kennel or bedding area does not become contaminated and therefore the environment need not be treated. Lesions of demodectic mange, if present, usually appear first around the puppy’s head, as this is the area most in contact with the mother. Virtually every mother carries and transfers mites to her puppies. Most puppies are immune to the mite’s effects and display no clinical signs or lesions. A few are not immune and it is these puppies that develop full-blown cases of mange.
Dogs that are sensitive to the demodectic mites may develop a few (less than 5) isolated lesions (localized mange) or they may have generalized mange, in which case, there are more than 5 lesions involving the entire body or region of the body. Most lesions in either form develop after four months of age.
The lesions and signs of demodectic mange usually involve hair loss; crusty, red skin; and at times, a greasy or moist appearance. The mites prefer to live in the hair follicles, so in most cases, hair loss is the first noted sign. Usually, hair loss begins around the muzzle, eyes, and other areas on the head. The lesions may or may not itch. In localized mange, a few circular crusty areas will be noted, most frequently on the head and forelegs of young dogs 3-6 months of age. Most of these lesions will self heal as the puppies become older and develop their own immunity. Persistent lesions will need treatment that will be described later. In cases in which the whole body is involved (generalized mange), there will be areas of hair loss over the entire coat, including the head, neck, abdomen, legs, and feet. The skin along the head, side, and back will be crusty and oftentimes inflamed. It will often crack and ooze a clear fluid. Hair will be scant, but the skin itself will often be oily to the touch. There is usually a secondary bacterial infection. Some animals can become quite ill and develop a fever, lose their appetite, and become lethargic. Patients with generalized demodectic mange need immediate vigorous treatment.
Once Demodectic mange is suspected in a dog, it can usually be confirmed by a skin scraping or biopsy, in which case, the mites can be seen with the aid of a microscope. They are too small to be seen with the naked eye. The adults appear as tiny, alligator-like mites. Remember that these mites are present in every dog, so by themselves, they do not constitute a diagnosis of mange. The mite must be coupled with the lesions for a diagnosis of mange to be made.
Older dogs diagnosed with demodectic mange should be screened for certain other diseases such as Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, and heartworm disease. Nutritional history and any history of treatment with corticosteroids or other immune-suppressing drugs should be noted.
The treatment of Demodectic mange is usually accomplished with topical (on the skin) medications, though some oral medications are also used. Localized demodectic mange usually does not have to be treated, but will often resolve as the puppy ages.
If a dog develops generalized demodectic mange, treament can be lengthy and expensive. Amitraz dips may be applied every two weeks. Amitraz is an organophosphate, and is generally available under the product name Mitaban. It is a prescription product and should be applied with care. Humans should always wear rubber gloves when applying it to the dog, and it should be applied in an area with adequate ventilation. It is recommended that dogs be clipped short, so that the dip can make good contact with the skin. Prior to dipping, the dog should be bathed with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo to help remove oil and cellular debris.
Most dogs with generalized demodectic mange require between 6 and 14 dips given at 2 week intervals. After the first three or four dips, a skin scraping should be performed to determine if the mites have been eliminated. Dips should continue for one month after ther have been no mites found on the skin scrapings taken after 2 successive treatments. Dogs should not be considered “cured” until one year after their last treatment.
Some dogs develop sedation or nausea when dipped, and toy breeds in particular are sensitive to amitraz. Half strength dips should be used on these sensitive animals.
|Ivermectin should not be used in Collies and similar breeds.|
Some dogs may not respond to this treatment, and the frequency of the dips may have to be increased or additional treatments may need to be instituted. Two other products, which though they are not licensed for the treatment of demodectic mange, are used by veterinary dermatologists and general practitioners with some good results. One of these is ivermectin, which is the active ingredient in Heartgard, however, the concentration in Heartgard is not high enough to be effective against Demodex. Larger daily doses of liquid ivermectin must be given and should only be used under close veterinary supervision. Ivermectin should not be used in collies and similar breeds.
Another drug, Milbemycin oxime (Interceptor), has also been given daily and been shown to be effective on up to 80% of the dogs that did not respond to Mitaban dips. Milbemycin oxime should be used with caution in collies and puppies under 21 weeks of age. Another drug, Moxidectin, has also been shown to have some efficacy against Demodex.
Dogs that have generalized demodicosis often have underlying skin infections, so antibiotics are often given for the first several weeks of treatment. Because Demodex flourishes on dogs with suppressed immune systems, it is wise to check for underlying causes of immune system disease, particularly if the animal is older when he develops mange.
Demodectic mange is not an inherited condition, but the suppressed immune system that allows the puppy to be susceptible to the mites can be. Remember that all puppies receive the mites from their mother, but only a few have ineffective immune systems and develop the mange. This sensitivity can be passed genetically through generations. Individuals that have a history of demodectic mange, and their parents and siblings, should not be bred. Through careful breeding, most cases of generalized demodicosis could be eliminated.
The various species of Demodex mites tend to infest only one species of host animal, i.e., Demodex canis infests dogs, Demodex bovis infests cattle, and Demodex folliculorum infests humans.
In conclusion, a few important points should be repeated. The mites are transferred from the mother to offspring in the first few days of life. The first sign of hair loss usually does not occur until after four months of age. Demodectic mange in dogs is usually curable or controllable with persistent treatment, except in rare cases with very immune suppressed individuals. The immune system condition that allows for the development of demodectic mange can be an inherited condition, and breeding of these animals should not occur.