If you are seeing long ‘spaghetti’ type worms passed in your dog’s feces then the best thing to do is bring a fecal sample to our St. Albert office for analysis and confirm the type of worm that they are. Your dog may also require a complete physical examination by the veterinarian to ensure they are healthy.
We are very fortunate living in Alberta as our cold winters mean we have fewer parasites than many other places in North America. However, we do still have the most common type of worm that infects dogs and cats which is the ROUNDWORM (Toxocarasp.). The eggs of this worm are very hearty and are able to survive our winters in the grass and soil. They are then ready to infect your dogs in the spring, summer and fall in your yard and parks in your neighborhood.
Fortunately, this parasite is easy to treat with a deworming pill that is best available through our veterinary office. There are many types of deworming medication available in pet stores and feed stores but most of them are only partially effective in getting rid of the worms. It is better to get an appropriate dose according to your dog’s weight of a prescription deworming tablet (commonly used products are Interceptor, Heartguard, Drontal) from your veterinary team. This pill will be given more than one time to ensure the infection is completely cleared.
Dogs will often be completely healthy while they have a roundworm infection but it is very important for their health AND the health of the humans that they live with, to treat these worms and prevent further infections down the road. Roundworms can infect humans. Children are especially at risk and the worms often migrate to their liver, eyes or under their skin.
In order to prevent this we recommend to thoroughly treat all active infections until fecal tests are negative. Then as a preventive measure we recommend to give a once a month treatment during the spring and summer months (May-October). Many of the human infections reported come from our own backyards so it is important to pick up dog feces regularly. The eggs of the roundworm parasite need 2 weeks to develop before they are infective in the feces. Cover all sandboxes, playgrounds and gardens to prevent dogs from defecating in these areas.
There are many other types of parasites that can be present in your dog’s feces but roundworms are the most common type. Talk to our Mission Ridge veterinarians about all parasites that you should be concerned about in your area and for your dog’s lifestyle.