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Worm Counts for Dogs

Worm Counts for Dogs

Recently I did a poll on a Facebook group of dog owners asking how people approached worming their dogs.

The answers were wide and varied, with many people following a regular worming (and flea) regime advised by their vet.  Some people chose not to worm at all as they were confident in their dog’s diet and the fact that they couldn’t see evidence of worms in their dog’s poop. 

Interestingly, only a few people mentioned worm counting, something I am a huge advocate of as a more natural approach to worm control (so, working with our new lab partners Feclab, we now offer worm count kits at a hugely discounted rate to our customers). 

Did you know most worms infecting dogs and cats are invisible to the naked eye? 

It's important not to assume therefore, that your dog or cat hasn't got any worms, because none are seen in the poop.

You can’t prevent worms, only treat the worm burden IF it is there.

We all know that you can’t prevent head lice, only kill the little suckers when they appear, so we don’t treat children for them as a preventative measure, we wait until we see evidence.  Why don’t we do this for dogs?  We give them worm medication without even knowing if a worm problem exists!  Expensive and toxic.  Hmm.  Conundrum.  You said I’m unlikely to SEE worms in my dog’s poop so how do I find out if our dog has worms then?

Did you know that worms are a serious health threat to your dog?

They’re not just a nuisance, they can cause diarrhoea, digestive disturbances, bloating and wind, coughing / severe lung disease, weight loss, poor condition, anaemia and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) but AGAIN, it will be unlikely that you will see evidence of these worms, even if the worm burden is large.

Worming tablets are toxic chemicals with many reported side effects.  Common worms are building up resistance to them due to overuse when they are not required.

A worm count means that treatment with tablets only needs to be given if the presence of worms is confirmed, which is much safer for pets than giving chemical wormers routinely.  Your results are emailed to you with specific advice if there are worms evident in your dog's poop.

How does my dog catch worms?

Puppies usually have worms at birth so it is vital to ensure your puppy’s worming treatment is completed.  Scavenger dogs (you know the ones, love to eat cat poo, bring you a dead rodent or two…) are more likely to contract worms from the nasty things they pick up and eat.  But here’s a list of common culprits…

Roundworms can be contracted by:

Larvae crossing the placenta into unborn puppies and kittens
Larvae in the mammary glands of the mother being passed to newborn puppies and kittens in the milk
Licking or sniffing a stool passed by an infected dog or cat
Swallowing rodents, earthworms or birds harbouring the larvae

Tapeworms can be contracted by:

Swallowing an infected flea (super common but little known!!)
Eating infected rodents, birds, rabbits, hares and sheep 

Whipworm can be contracted by:

Swallowing infective eggs in the environment

Hookworm can be contracted by:

Larvae crossing the placenta into unborn puppies and kittens
Larvae in the mammary glands of the mother being passed to newborn puppies and kittens in the milk
Licking or sniffing a stool passed by an infected dog or cat
Licking / grooming paws which have picked up contaminated soil or stools 
Larvae burrowing through the skin 

So how do I do a worm count?

Worms find their way into most doggos at one time or another and every responsible pooch parent should have their dog on some sort of regular deworming program to help keep them at bay.

Our worm count kit will help you to do this and identify if your dog has a worm burden.  A small poo sample is sent off to our lab in our prepaid envelopes and your results will be emailed back to you.

My own dogs just had their worm counts back.  And the results were…

Dolly (4 year old Cavapoo) – no worms evident.  She was last wormed with a tablet 18 months ago.

Reggie (8 month old Schnoodle) – small tapeworm burden evident.  Last wormed as a small puppy.  Treated with a tapeworm tablet from the vet rather than a broad spectrum worming tablet.

Laura x