Natural Worm Control
The dog that passed this stool is suffering from lungworm.
It looks normal because the larvae present are only visible under a microscope.
Whipworms and hookworms are usually only 1 - 2mm long, and so these are often not seen either.
The absence of worms in stools therefore, is not a reliable indication that a dog or cat is clear. And assuming that this is the case if faeces appear normal, is one reason the number of dogs and cats that have worms, is far greater than generally realised.
Impact on Health
If whipworms and hookworms go undetected for any length of time, weight loss, bloody stools, diarrhoea and anaemia may occur. Similar gastrointestinal disturbances may result from tapeworm and roundworm infections.
Lungworm in the respiratory tract and / or heart, can lead to coughing, breathing difficulties, heart murmurs, lethargy, and a wide range of other, non-specific signs.
The longer these and other worms remain in the body, the more likely they are to cause serious and / or irreversible damage to the guts, lungs, heart and overall health.
For this reason (along with the risk to human health too, particularly children who come into contact with infected pets), it is important to screen every 3 months for infection and have an effective worm control regime in place.
The test above checks for the presence of eggs and larvae shed by:
- Toxocara canis (Ascarid)
- Toxascaris leonina (Ascarid)
- Uncinaria stenocephala (Hookworm )
- Ancylostoma caninum (Hookworm)
- Trichuris vulpis (Whipworm)
- Spirocerca lupi (Oesophageal worm)
- Dipylidium caninum (Tapeworm)
- Taenia pisiformis (Tapeworm)
- Echinococcus granulosus (Tapeworm)
- Echinococcus multiocularis (Tapeworm)
- Mesocestoides (Tapeworm)
- Cystoisospora (Coccidia)
- Angiostrongylus vasorum (lungworm / heartworm - dog)
- Oslerus osleri (lungworm - dog)
- Capillaria aerophila (lungworm - cat)
- Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (lungworm - cat)
Although regular worming as a means of control has been standard practice for many decades, it is important to be aware that these products are far from being completely safe. Most are in fact nerve poisons, designed to kill worms by paralysing the nervous system. And because this is how they act, there is a risk of serious side effects in sensitive pets, which may prove to be irreversible or fatal.
Adverse reactions reported following the use of wormers include:
- loss of appetite
- vomiting and / or diarrhoea
- muscle tremors
For this reason, it best to avoid using such chemical wormers unless absolutely necessary. This can be done by screening for the presence of worms first, to determine whether any are actually present before considering using such a product.
Natural Worm Control
The best way to minimise the risk of infection with worms naturally, is to:
- maintain a healthy intestinal environment which is inhospitable to parasites
- prevent contact with sources of worms as much as possible
This can be done as follows:
- Giving Intestinal Cleanse twice daily for the first week in every month. This helps the body to eliminate unwanted ‘guests’ and supports natural defence mechanisms which are hostile to foreign invaders.
- Discouraging your pet from:
- eating, sniffing or licking faeces - their own (remove these as soon as possible) and other animals
- swallowing rodents, rabbits, hares, slugs, snails, birds and earthworms
- drinking water, eating grass and playing with toys contaminated with slug or snail slime
- picking up and ingesting fleas
(See how to deter fleas naturally in the following article - A Chemically Clean Natural Health Care Regime.)