let’s talk parasites…

With summer fast approaching here in the UK i think it’s time we started to talk about parasites. Here is just a few of the parasites i have taken steps to prevent this year.

What is a parasite?

A parasite is an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species…..its host….and takes the nutrients from the host it has moved onto.

I am a great believer in using the natural approach to beat parasites. I believe that parasites are not a cause of a disease but a symptom of an inbalance within the dogs immune system. A healthy immune system will provide not only a natural defense against disease and parasites it will also help fight any form of illness the dog may come across with age. The healthier the dog the less likely the parasite is to stay, this is because a healthy dog is very uninviting to a parasite. Here’s a few of the most common parasites and information on what i have done to rid my dogs of them and what i continue to do to make sure they don not get them again.

Roundworm.

Adult dogs rarely get effected by roundworm. It is more common for puppies to be effected by roundworm. This happens through the mothers milk and the placenta before birth. Dogs can also pick up roundworm from an infected environment. Roundworm live in the intestines of a dog and one roundworm can produce up to 85,000 eggs a day and their eggs can incubate in the ground for several weeks where an infected dog has toileted! Roundworms can be seen in a dogs poo or vomit, they have a spaghetti appearance and are white or a light brown in colour…….

Symptoms and treatment.

Not all dogs will show symptoms of being infected, but here’s some symptoms to look out for…..pot belly, diarrhea, vomiting, dull coat, belly aches, weight loss and probably not to energetic. There are many treatments available for worms but i like to stick to the natural approach as i believe its healthier for the dog and the environment. A natural method for roundworm is to first look at the dogs nutrition and add to this wheat or oats, amounts vary depending on the size of your dog and also considering their age….between 1/2 to 2 teaspoons a day is a good amount to feed. Feeding this will help to carry the worms out of the system. Another natural food to try is garlic. Garlic is quite toxic to dogs but it has to be given in huge amounts to be life threatening. I have 3 large/medium dogs and between them they get 2 cloves over a seven day period. The last food grade substance you can feed is diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is the skeletal remains of diatoms. You can buy this from any health food store and also from online sites like amazon. You need to purchase the natural refined stuff though. This can also be used for fleas and has the same effect on them. It irritates the outside of the parasite causing them to loose their grip and depart from the body…….. if you are unsure about treating th worms yourself you can always buy ready made herbal remedies from herbalists.

Roundworms are zoonotic meaning that they spread between different animals and people.

Fleas.

The blighty little pests that make you itch at the very moment you hear ‘flea’. Fleas have been around for hundreds of years and will no doubt be around for hundreds more! Fleas survive by injecting an anticoagulant into the dogs system and then drinking the blood of the dog. Fleas don’t usually cause serious problems, however very server infestations can cause skin disease and in young puppies they can cause anemia! Again i find it best to keep your dog healthy and in top fitness, feeding a fresh wholesome diet thats free from additives and nasties. Fleas and other parasites are less likely to thrive and stay if your dog immune system is working like it should and the skins natural oils can work like they should.

Symptoms and treatment

Fleas are relatively easy to spot. Your dog will be very itchy and irritable. weekly grooming over a white piece of paper will help identify fleas too. If not a flea you will spot flea poo on the paper as it drops off the dogs skin with grooming. You may also be very itchy yourself and start to break out in little red spots where you have been bitten.. Treatment for fleas is relatively easy but it is continuous! A flea comb dipped in hot soapy water will help remove the majority of fleas and their eggs. Again diatomaceous earth can be used in the fight against fleas, either orally or used on carpets, beds and lawn treatments for outdoor use. Things i add to my dogs diets to fight against the fleas are nutritional yeast, i feed this as a daily ration in their food and fresh garlic which we have already explained. Keeping your dogs coat in top condition without over bathing them and washing natural oils away will help keep the fleas at bay.

Fleas again are zoonotic, so if you are a multiple pet household then you will need to treat all the animals individually.

Ticks.

Ticks have to be the easiest parasite to control out of all parasites. Ticks are not a permanent resident, they attach themselves suck some blood then fall off to lay their eggs and the cycle then continues. Ticks lie in wait in long grasses and branches for a victim to come pass that they can attach themselves on to.

symptoms and treatment.

Ticks are relatively easy to see and notice, Ticks can carry Lyme disease but if you remove the tick and clean the area then the risks are quite low. You need to use a tick remover to remove the tick, this way you can be guaranteed to remove the ticks head as well as the body. Again feeding nutritional yeast and garlic can prevent the ticks from attaching on feeding off your dog. You can also use a tick repellent prior to walking to help prevent ticks….i use a mixture of diluted lavender, rose geranium oil and Jojoba oil. i apply two drops behind my dogs ears and the back of the neck before we leave the house. This tends to do th trick and also leaves a very nice scent on the dogs too.

Ticks are again zoonotic.

So heres just a few of the parasites that i have taken steps to prevent this year with my own dogs. These are the common ones that i have come across with owning dogs for many years. There are lots of different parasites throughout the world we live and its always best to seek medical advice from a vet if you suspect that your dog has a parasite. It’s also nice to tell the vet that you think your dog has a parasite so that the vet can gown up prior to your visit. As i have explained through this blog, keeping your dog healthy and feeding them a wholesome diet will act as a prevention to these parasites. Prevention is far better…..

 

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