Archive for September 11th, 2011

English Bulldog Internal Parasites (Part II)

Heartworms

Adult heartworms live in the upper heart and greater pulmonary arteries, where they damage the vessel walls. Poor circulation is the result, which damages other bodily functions, eventually causing death from heart failure.
The adult worms produce thousands of tiny larvae called microfilaria. These circulate throughout the bloodstream until they are sucked up by an intermediate host, a mosquito. The microfilaria go through the larval stages in the mosquito, and then are transferred back to another dog when the mosquito bites again.
English Bulldogs infected with heartworms can be treated if caught early. Unfortunately, the treatment itself can be risky and has killed some dogs. However, preventive medications are available that kill the larvae.
Heartworm infestation can be diagnosed by a blood test, and a negative result is required before starting the preventive.

Hookworms

Hookworms live their adult lives in the small intestines of dogs and other animals. They attach to the intestinal wall and suck blood. When they detach and move to a new location, the old wound continues to bleed because of the anti-coagulant the worm injects when it bites. Because of this, bloody diarrhea is usually the first sign of a problem.
Hookworm eggs are passed through the feces. Either they are picked up from the stools, as with roundworms, or, if conditions are right, they hatch in the soil and attach themselves to the feet of their new hosts, where they can burrow through the skin. They then migrate to the intestinal tract, where the cycle starts all over again.
People can pick up hookworms by walking barefoot in infected soil. In the Sunbelt states, children often pick up hookworm eggs when playing outside in the dirt or in a sandbox. Treatment, for both dogs and people, may have to be repeated.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms attach to the intestinal wall to absorb nutrients. They grow by creating new segments, and usually the first sign of an infestation is the ricelike segments found in the stools or on the dog’s coat near the rectum. Tapeworms are acquired when the dog chews a flea bite and swallows a flea, the intermediate host. Therefore, a good flea-control program is the best way to prevent a tapeworm infestation.
Whipworms
Adult whipworms live in the large intestines, where they feed on blood. The eggs are passed in the stool and can live in the soil for many years. If your Bulldog eats the fresh spring grass or buries her bone in the yard, she can pick up whip-worm eggs from the infected soil. If you garden, you can pick up eggs under your fingernails, infecting yourself if you touch your face.
Heavy infestations cause diarrhea, often watery or bloody. English Bulldog may appear thin and anemic, with a poor coat. Severe bowel problems may result. Unfortunately, whipworms can be difficult to detect, because the worms do not continually shed eggs. Therefore, a stool sample may be clear one day and show eggs the next day.

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