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 (Diane Stirling - Working Collie Breeder in Minnesota)



Many Non-Carrier for CEA

Rough Coat Collies and Smooth Coat Collies

Intestinal Parasites


Intestinal parasites, what most people think of as worms, are found in the environment, and they are easily transmitted to dogs.  Even when your pet has intestinal parasites, you may not see actual worms passed in the stool.  Fortunately, by testing a stool sample, your vet can determine if your pet has parasites.  They can perform a laboratory test called a fecal flotation that can detect the microscopic eggs of these common parasites:


Roundworms are large, white, “spaghetti-noodle” worms.  Adult roundworms live in the intestine, and their eggs are passed in the feces.  Infection occurs when a pet ingests the roundworm eggs from the environment, or eats an animal that is infected.  Roundworms can also be passed from a mother to her pups through the placenta or milk.  Roundworms can cause colic and a “pot-belly” appearance.  In heavy infections, the pet may defecate or vomit the worms.


Whipworms are thin, hair like worms.  Their life cycle is similar to roundworms.  Eggs are passed in the feces and then ingested.  The eggs can survive in soil for months or even years.  Whipworms may eventually cause bloody diarrhea.


Hookworms are smaller worms that “hook” onto the lining of the intestine using sharp teeth, which causes loss of blood into the intestine.  This blood loss may be evident in dark, tarry stool and pale mucous membranes.  Hookworms can also cause constipation.  Hookworm eggs are shed in the feces and then hatch into microscopic larvae.  These larvae are then ingested from the environment.  Hookworms can also be passed via milk from mother to pup, and hookworm larvae in the soil can penetrate the skin on the pads of the feet.  They are also very hardy in the environment. 


Tapeworms are flat, white, segmented worms.  The segments, called proglottids, are actually egg packets that are shed in the feces.  Small animals (rodents, rabbits, fleas) ingest the egg packets and are in turn eaten by dogs.  Tapeworm eggs are not usually seen on fecals, but the proglottids can be seen in the feces.  They look like grains of rice.


Coccidia and Giardia are microscopic protozoan parasites with complex life-cycles.  Their cysts are passed in the feces and are ingested from the environment.  Once inside the intestine, these parasites infect the cells of the intestinal lining, causing diarrhea.


It is important to check all new puppies for intestinal parasites.  Because of the possibility of false negative results, it is recommended that your pet have at least 2 fecal exams done, a month apart.  Once identified, the above parasites can be treated with medication.  The medication will kill the adult worms living in the intestine, so dead worms may be passed in the stool after treatment.  A follow-up fecal is recommended 3-4 weeks after treatment to make sure the infection is cleared up. 


Most intestinal parasites pose little health hazard to humans as long as proper hygiene is followed.  Always clean up promptly after our pet, and wash your hands afterwards and before eating.  Even if your pet has been treated for parasites in the past, they can become re-infected.  Therefore, it is important to keep your pet’s environment clean.  In the case of tapeworms, controlling hunting and flea infestations is the only way to prevent infection. 


It is recommended to worm your pet with a pyrantel pamoate and panacur at least twice a year, or have your pet’s fecal checked yearly to help keep them parasite-free.


© RC

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