Roundworms in dogs may also be diagnosed from stool samples, however here you may not want to do this yourself(?):
roundworm infection will result in eggs being passed with the feces. These eggs are so small that they can only be seen under a microscope - and obviously eggs don't move! Thus you would need to collect some feces with a glass slide, put another slide on top, and place it under the microscope.
Instead of linking
blank microscope slides I have linked a beautiful (but bargain!) wooden box with assorted specimens on glass slides, because they make a wonderful present if you have kids or grandchildren!? And then you can let your (or your neighbor's) kids inspect the feces to see if your dog has a roundworm infection - most kids find feces rather fascinating than disgusting...
Today's kids are so smart, they know how to compare what they see under the microscope with googled photos of the different types of worms. - And again, you've saved $100 in vet fees, yeah! Give your kids a kiss.
Just be sure that you have taught your kids or grandchildren
hygiene before you gift them the microscope, such that they learned how to properly wash their hands out of routine before they lick their fingers, touch the face or ... touch you!
Although the subsequent types of worms are
roundworms too (see the image at the top), let's address them separately because of some specifics. Hookworm Symptoms
Hookworms in dogs typically also attach to the intestinal lining, and these worms suck blood from the small vessels in the lining! However some hookworms always 'get lost' when they migrate from the dog's skin where they may have entered the body (see above) to the intestines.
These hookworms then become
dormant in the dog's muscle tissue, until some extraordinary metabolic change in the dog's body (like say pregnancy, administration of antibiotics, corticosteroids, or other medicaments) 'awaken' them.
Note that it is these worms (the dormant ones) that are guilty of infecting puppies of a seemingly healthy mother dog. In fact,
hookworms and whipworms (next) are considered the most 'obstinate' of all types of worms: It's difficult to get rid of them with old-school medicaments that don't reach the dormant larvae.
Hookworms are more common in puppies than in adult dogs, however a
hookworm infection may be newly acquired by any dog, eg when the dog is merely licking its feet after an outdoor walk, or breathing the microscopic eggs while sniffing other dogs' feces or contaminated soil!
Here's a G-rated movie of an adult
hookworm hooking on to the colon lining of a dog (G-rated: your kids may watch it too). Think of it as biting into the intestinal wall - as that's what it is, it causes internal bleeding and a bloody stool:
Thanks to Cornell University
Early warning signs of a hookworm infection are microscopic eggs in the feces (again ask the vet or - cheaper - the kids to analyse them!), bloody feces or Diarrhea, pale gums, weakness of the dog or puppy, and anemia.
Whipworms in dogs attach to the lining of the large intestine, and they cause small tears that result in bloody feces and bloody Diarrhea. Another early warning sign is the diagnosis of microscopic whipworm eggs in the dog's stool.
Note that (very different to the tapeworm segments discussed above) whipworm eggs are highly resistant to heat, they don't dry out: These eggs can survive in the environment for up to 5 years! Hence a
whipworm infection is the most persistent worm infection to affect your dog's living environment!
Since, again, whipworm eggs are passed with the stool only
intermittently (and thus won't be found in a single dog stool sample), I suggest you save another $100 on the vet's diagnosis and rather let your kids detect the eggs under the microscope (or if you don't have kids and no neighbors, you may want to do it yourself).
In short: The early warning sign of an infestation with
intestinal worms is found in the dog's feces.
However, note that in addition some of the eggs of all intestinal roundworms will stick to the hair around the dog's anus, and from there they intermittently fall off - long after the dog defecated. More so: When an infested dog farts, worm eggs (and with strong farts even tapeworm segments) will be catapulted out into the open.
I don't dare to shock you with a video of an
egg airforce strike, but if you'd like to watch the worm infantry (??) here you go:
In other words (short too): If your dog is worm-infested (because you are not regularly deworming, see below), then worm eggs (and possibly even worms, see above)
will fall off in your house too - and onto your couch (if your dog may occupy the couch) - and into your bed (if your dog may sleep with you). In this regard, note that eg hookworm eggs easily survive 3 weeks on dry fabrics, and remember that whipworm eggs survive five years(!) on slightly moist surfaces.
Here you see yet
another reason why we already 'warned' in one of the very first Periodicals that you received, not to let your dog onto your bed (or your children's bed) - unless you follow a whole array of hygiene and safety precautions, or unless you don't mind to get a worm infection too??
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Heartworms in dogs do not affect the intestines but the blood vessels in heart, lungs and other organs (see above). Thus here the warning signs of a dog worm infection are different:
soft dry cough
shortness of breath
loss of stamina
sudden death after exercise (too late!)
Again, if a
puppy doesn't want to play a lot (exercise a LOT), this is a clear sign that something is wrong.
However, since a heartworm infection can take several years before the microfilariae mature into adult heartworms (which then block the blood vessels), the only early warning sign of a worm infection here is a serological antigen test (ELISA, SNAP) from a blood sample.
But even then you can't feel safe because a dog with (yet) less than four or five adult heartworms may not have produced enough circulating antigen to show a positive test result (ie to identify the heartworm infection). This is why, again,
regular deworming of your dog is essential (see below).
For effective deworming,
three factors need to be addressed:
Worm Treatment (killing adult worms)
Worm Prevention (killing worm larvae)
Environmental Care (preventing re-infection)
If you miss one, you will have to start all over again.
If you got your German Shepherd puppy from a shelter or from a professional breeder, your pup likely will have received the first one to three rounds of dewormers before you collect the pup. Breeders typically start deworming pups at 3 or 4 weeks of age, and shelters at 2 weeks (backyard breeders often not at all, to save money). And you typically won't get - and shouldn't get(!) - a pup younger than 7 or 8 weeks of age (for reasons see the
Puppy Development Guide - Puppy 101). Puppy Worming Schedule
When you bring your pup home, it's wise to continue with the standard
puppy deworming schedule that the breeder or shelter has started:
one more treatment at 8 weeks of age
then once a month until age 6 months
thereafter every 1 to 6 months (depending on your dog's living environment)
The above schedule is for when you start socializing your puppy
early (like you should, see the Puppy 101 or Ian Dunbar's After you get your puppy), because then your pup will be exposed to a lot of worming risks already at a young age. Deworming Dogs
Note that only a comprehensively educated veterinarian (really,
not all are!) can select the most suitable parasiticide (1), the most suitable dose (2), the most suitable administration time (3), and the most suitable administration schedule (4) - all based on your dog's individual condition.
living environment is a factor for dog deworming too, because obviously a German Shepherd kept as a shepherd dog (getting into contact with lifestock feces and fleas and mosquitoes) bears different risk than a German Shepherd kept on an indoor couch.
WHAT?? You won't, right?
If you don't trust your vet to be comprehensively educated?
or you don't have a vet?
or your vet charges 'too much'?
if you don't insist on the
most suitable 'fantastic four'
then you may want to consider
DIY dog deworming (home treatment) - which is allowed (as opposed to DIY dog vaccination).
In that case take note of the following points:
intestinal puppy worms or dog worms do not kill heartworms and other worms and larvae that reside in blood vessels or tissue - unless the medicament's label explicitely says so The same is true vice versa: Eg
heartworm medicaments do not kill intestinal worms - unless the medicament's label explicitely says so Often, a dog (even more so, a puppy) is affected by more than one type of worms - then you will need to treat your dog for both types of
canine worms, say intestinal worms and worms that reside in blood vessels, heartworm Many (but not all)
dewormers only either kill adult worms or larvae, but your dog will need a medicament that does both, in order to catch all worm life cycle stages: worm treatment and worm control Thanks to the different kind of chemicals used, most (but not all)
deworming remedies are far less toxic to dogs than the popular flea and tick remedies (spot ons, tablets, and collars) Of course, correct administration of the
right dose and strength is essential nonetheless, in order to avoid complications (side effects, up to and including rare death of the dog!) DIY
misadministration is more common than it should be (the reason is the vast amount of misinformation on the internet that leads overcredulous dog owners to believe "DIY dog treatment is totally safe" No, DIY dog treatment is
not "totally safe", because with every medicament - even when administered correctly(!) - a small percentage of dogs does experience allergic reactions (here, mostly caused by the sudden die-off of an army of worms, which releases their infectious innards into the dog's body all at once) Thus if you go for DIY deworming,
accept that you bear some level of risk - although with dewormers this is much smaller than the risk you bear with the popular flea and tick remedies (see the prior Periodicals)
Now, what DIY deworming options do you have for the
treatment (of existing worms and larvae) and the control (prevention of future worms and larvae)?
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Again, I have integrated the relevant remedies for
tapeworm treatment and control, heartworm treatment and control, roundworm treatment and control, hookworm treatment and control, and whipworm treatment and control into the
of Dog Pests Remedies table MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG Remedies
- opens in a
new window/tab so that you can read the following notes along with it:
Pregnant dogs (bitches) should
not be treated with a particular dewormer unless the label clearly permits it. Forget what you can read elsewhere! As always, you can find a LOT of dangerous 'advice' on the internet - which is made up of the typical 'blogger'-type dog blogs of uneducated 'hobby vets'. In addition to the above, you can often find the 'advice' to "save a few dollars" by using suspensions, tablets, or pastes
produced for on your lifestock dog. Further you can read that you may divide deworming products sold for large dogs into several doses to be used on small dogs.
All of the above is dangerous 'advice'! As you know, I love to save dollars myself, I always go for the cheapest source - but without compromising quality. By using lifestock products on dogs, or by dividing a German Shepherd dog dose into several Chihuahua doses, I would not only compromise product quality but product safety. Here's why:
All dewormers (deworming products) also contain inert ingredients (inactive ingredients) Inert ingredients do not have to be listed, and
are not listed, on product labels Inert ingredients that are safe for lifestock can produce allergic reactions, or even be
toxic, when used on the modern domesticated dog! In addition, there is a high risk of
overdosing because you cannot simply divide the amount of active ingredient alone The
concentration typically is much higher in a product sold for large dogs than in a product sold for small dogs!
Unless prescribed by a veterinary doctor:
Be extremely careful when you insist to use on your
dog (or cat) a product labeled for livestock
Likewise, be extremely careful when you insist to use on a
small or young dog (or cat??) a product labeled for large dogs
Note that I have
nothing from holding you back from saving money - instead I encourage you to save money and I show you the remedies to save money - where safe and sensible in terms of product quality.
Doing any of the above is
not safe and not sensible. Don't let yourself be talked into saving a few bucks (by people on the internet you don't even know and can't sue!) while risking your dog's life or wellbeing. I would rather give a dog a dewormer more rarely (but regularly, say maybe every two months, or every three months). You choose.
A few final notes on the
active ingredients in dewormers (as clearly shown in our ): Dog Pests Remedies table
Fenbendazole is a benzimidazole, and as such mildly toxic (but acute toxicity in dogs starts only at 20 to 50 mg/kg body weight, and you won't give that much). Thus, poisoning with Fenbendazole is rare. When treated at the therapeutic dose (see product labels!), the most common side effect of Fenbendazole is Vomiting.
ProHeart contains Moxidectin which (like Selamectin, Ivermectin, and all other macrocyclic lactones) is dangerous for dogs with the MDR-1 gene defect (which 10% of German Shepherds have) - although Moxidectin is the safest of the three Thus, if you plan to give your GSD a medicament with this ingredient, make sure you first have your dog tested for this gene defect! (See the "GSD warning" notes in the remedies table)
Pyrantel Pamoate is a tetrahydropyrimidine, and as such mildly toxic (but acute toxicity in dogs starts only at 50 mg/kg body weight, and you won't give that much). Thus, poisoning with Pyrantel Pamoate is rare. When treated at the therapeutic dose (see product labels!), the most common side effect of Pyrantel Pamoate is Vomiting. Its sister remedy
Pyrantel Tartrate is more soluble in water and thus its absorption into blood is higher, which results in slightly higher toxicity
Praziquantel is an isoquinoline and its molecular action is not yet fully known, but it is only very mildly toxic (acute toxicity in dogs starts only at 200 mg/kg body weight, and you won't give that much). However, on its own it is not suitable to control worm population, as its anthelmintic (worm-killing) effect only lasts a few hours Merial's
Heartgard, Virbac's generic Iverhart Plus and Iverhart Max, Novartis' Milbemax etc, they all contain macrocyclic lactones, thus do see the GSD warning note above! Iverhart Max and Milbemax further contain
Praziquantel to kill tapeworms too, thus they are the more potent dewormer (without increasing the risk for the dog; the risk is the other active ingredient, a macrocyclic lactone) Also note that these remedies (at the time of writing) are
not sold on Amazon because the vendors try to stop making medicaments a bargain for dog owners ( not because they are prescription-only, Amazon sells many such remedies). The vendors seem to merely avoid Amazon to keep the price artificially high
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At last, what about
natural dewormer or herbal dewormer? Are they viable alternatives to medical dewormer?
Natural dewormer often mentioned are:
Ground pumpkin seeds (often recommended dose: 1 level teaspoon/5kg body weight)
Again, you can find a LOT of 'blogger-type advice' on the internet regarding all of these (and others). For example regarding
garlic, people refer to a "scientific study" (like eg this one), and then make you believe that the research results would be applicable to your dog (probably, the authors do believe it themselves).
However: Note that it is a huge difference whether a remedy (here garlic) was shown to help mice(!) in a laboratory environment, or whether the remedy was shown to help dogs in general (for garlic: that wasn't shown).
In addition, be wary even of claims of "controlled studies": For example, in the one quoted above, the 'control group' received just
0.2mg Ivermectin per kg body weight, and then it was claimed that "garlic is more potent than Ivermectin". Of course it is not: The amount of garlic given was substantial, while the amount of Ivermectin given was infinitesimal - in real life no dog is given such a tiny amount of Ivermectin.
In short, many people ('bloggers') draw conclusions from ... well ... nonsense! I hope,
you won't do that.
This is not to say that the above natural dewormer cannot help your dog - they probably
do help a bit!
But can they kill an existing tapeworm, hookworm, whipworm, or heartworm infestation? Or can they reliably
prevent such worm infection?
I fear that's unlikely, sorry. Nonetheless: A healthy
natural and balanced dog food diet certainly will limit the risk of both to some degree! Hence again, try to avoid feeding commercial kibble (see the Periodical Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine and GSD Life Extender No 1).
Checklist * (see note at the bottom)
All dogs and puppies have worms - unless you commit to regular deworming The most common route of
worm infection is ingestion: Dogs (and people) inadvertently ingest microscopic worm eggs unnoticed (see How Do Dogs Get Worms) All
intestinal worms can be identified in the dog's feces. But since the indicators (eggs or worm segments) only show up intermittently, your vet is rather unlikely to find them in your souvenir stool sample (you may save that $100 fee) Thus, having a cheap but quality
microscope at home ( particularly when you have kids or grandchildren) is very helpful indeed ( see here). And FUN too! Puppies are often
born with worms (for why, see Worms in Puppies) The
heartworm however is transmitted by mosquitoes only (see next Periodical)
Hookworms and some fluke species can even penetrate the skin(!), and then migrate through the tissue to the intestines! Most worms in dogs (and humans) reside in the intestines (
intestinal worms), however some worms (and their larvae!) reside in body tissue, and the heartworm blocks blood vessels (primarily in heart and lungs) A
worm infection can grow unnoticed for many years(!), but if untreated, many worm infections ultimately lead to earlier death of the dog! To prevent your dog's early worm death or disease, see
Symptoms of Worms in Dogs Thus, regular
Deworming is a must We clearly advise
against the use of lifestock dewormer on your dog (for why see here) Note that the popular
intestinal dewormers are very safe for the dog when used correctly ( contrary to the popular flea and tick medications shown in the prior Periodicals) However, note that all common
heartworm medication seem to rely on macrocyclic lactones, meaning they bear considerable risk for GSDs with the MDR-1 gene defect (ie dog must be tested beforehand!) Finally, note that apparently no
natural dewormer seems to work reliably on dogs (ie in more than anecdotal/isolated instances) Want to save massive time and get
all on dog training, dog care, and dog health quarterly directly from the top experts? See here
==> Next edition: Mosquitoes! Nope! It itches me everywhere! Thus a different topic: Dog Play <==
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