Intestinal worms are everywhere! Protecting working dogs from intestinal worms is not only essential for their health, but importantly, this also protects humans and stock (cattle, sheep and goats) from infection. The major intestinal worms encountered by working dogs are:
Tapeworms are flat, segmented worms that attach to the wall of the small intestine and absorb nutrients. There are many different species of tapeworms, with dogs becoming infected in all cases when they ingest a tapeworm-infected intermediate host. Intermediate hosts become infected following ingestion of tapeworm eggs in the environment that have been excreted in the faeces of an infected dog. In the intermediate host, larval cysts can form in muscles as well as organs, which can reduce meat quality, resulting in economic losses for meat producers.
Signs of a Tapeworm Infection
In the dog, most tapeworm infections are asymptomatic, with dogs acting as a source of contamination in the environment, which can lead to the infection of other animals (e.g. sheep). Tapeworms can rob nutrients from a host, cause anal irritation (as the tapeworm segments are released) and diarrhoea.
Hydatid Tapeworm Lifecycle
For more information on T. ovis (Sheep Measles), click here.
Controling hydatid tapeworm
It is important to prevent hunting and scavenging in working dogs – ways to reduce this including removing carcasses and faeces from the farm and restricting the movement of these dogs when not working. Working dogs should not be fed raw offal.
Treatment and Prevention
Most veterinarians recommend the following treatment regime with a knock-down wormer such as Drontal®.