Archive for August 3rd, 2009

Labrador Retriever – Internal ParasitesInternal parasites live inside, and you may not see any signs of an infestation until it has progressed.

Roundworms

These long white worms are the most commonly found internal parasites, especially in puppies, although they occasionally infest adult dogs and people. The adult female roundworm can lay up to 200,000 eggs a day, which are passed in the dog’s feces. Roundworms can be transmitted only via the feces. Because of this, stools should be picked up daily, and your dog should be prevented from investigating other dogs’ feces.
If treated early, roundworms are not serious. However, a heavy infestation can severely affect a dog’s health. Puppies with roundworms will not thrive and will appear thin, with a dull coat and potbelly. In people, roundworms can be more serious. Therefore, early treatment, regular fecal checks, and good sanitation are important, both for your Labrador Retrievers continued good health and yours.

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 anticoagulant 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 a 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 dog eats the fresh spring grass or buries her bone in the yard, she can pick up eggs from the infected soil. If you garden, you could pick up eggs under your fingernails, infecting yourself if you touch your face.
Heavy infestations cause diarrhea, often watery or bloody. The dog may appear thin and anemic, with a poor coat. Severe bowel problems may result. Unfortunately, whipworms can be difficult to detect, as the worms do not continually shed eggs. Therefore, a stool sample may be clear one day and the next day show eggs.

Giardia

Giardia is common in wild animals in many areas, so if you take your Lab hiking, camping, or herding and drink out of the local spring or stream, she can pick up giardia, just as you can. Diarrhea is one of the first symptoms. If your dog has diarrhea and you and your dog have been out camping, make sure you tell your veterinarian.

Heartworms

Adult heartworms live in the upper heart and greater pulmonary arteries, where they damage the vessel walls. Poor circulation results, which causes damage to other bodily functions. Eventually, death from heart failure results.
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, then are transferred back to another dog when the mosquito bites again.
Dogs 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 can be diagnosed by a blood test, and a negative result is required before starting the preventive

Why Spay and Neuter?
Breeding dogs is a serious undertaking that should only be part of a well-planned breeding program. Why? Because dogs pass on their physical and behavioral problems to their offspring. Even healthy well-behaved dogs can pass on problems in their genes.
Is your dog so sweet that you’d like to have a litter of puppies just like her? If you breed her to another dog, the pups will not have the same genetic heritage she has. Breeding her parents again will increase the odds of a similar pup, but even then, the puppies in the second litter could inherit different genes. In fact, there is no way to breed a dog to be just like another dog.
Meanwhile, thousands and thousands of dogs are killed in animal shelters every year simply because they have no homes. Casual breeding is a big contributor to this problem.
If you don’t plan to breed your dog, is it still a good idea to spay her or neuter him? Yes!
When you spay your female:
– You avoid her heat cycles, during which she discharges blood and scent.
– It greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer and eliminates the risk of pyometra (an often fatal infection of the uterus) and uterine cancer.
– It prevents unwanted pregnancies.
– It reduces dominance behaviors and aggression.
When you neuter your male:
– It curbs the desire to roam and to fight with other males.
– It greatly reduces the risk of prostate cancer and eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
– It helps reduce leg lifting and mounting behavior.
– It reduces dominance behaviors and aggression

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