The dog's blog no. 2 - Pesky parasites
This is me, Moscow - a two and a half year old German Shepherd. I'm a rescue dog, although I don't like to think of myself as that. I moved from one loving home (where I was just a bit too strong for my owner) to another. I love being out in the garden, where I like nothing better than chasing a ball. And it's becoming even more fun out in the garden now the weather is warming up. There are flying and buzzing creatures that I can chase and snap at in the air. There are puzzling crawly creatures that I can follow along the ground with my nose. I'm particularly enjoying pushing my snout around among the bushes in the border - I'm sure I saw a frog heading for the new pond in there. And there's some nice long grass between the raised beds that I sometimes feel the urge to chew. There are lots of fat wood pigeons to chase off but I never catch them even though they look so fat. No such luck, and so no supplement to my regular diet of a fish and vegetable dry food (which was settled on after a lot of trial and error and suits my sensitive tummy).
While I love the garden, I do enjoy a walk out. I'm lucky that there are some great fields really close to home. And we're only a car ride (which I also love) from the New Forest. What could possibly go wrong? Well I wouldn't want to be ill for a start.
ESCCAPUK&Ireland, the veterinary parasite specialists say all dogs should have regular basic protection against the two ubiquitous parasites: fleas (better to prevent than have to treat) and roundworm (a wormer every 3 months for most dogs, but monthly if you're a dog that catches prey or lives with a susceptible human - a young child or person with a disease or on treatment that affects their immune system). But some dogs need more protection than this, depending on how they live their lives, and there are three more parasites to think of.
If you're a dog that gets fed raw meat or that catches prey, then you also want to think about protection against tapeworm. That's not me.
If you've ever had a tick on your body (which I have), then you should be thinking about protection, especially if you live in an area where ticks carry diseases (like around here), and definitely if you're going abroad - you wouldn't want to be responsible for helping new tick-borne diseases get established here. But you can't rely completely on tick protection products - and so it's still a good idea (and rather pleasant) have someone run their hands over you after a walk.
Finally, there's lungworm, a pesky disease that is carried by slugs, snails, frogs and the like. There might be slugs on the grass I chew and I can't promise that I wouldn't eat a frog if I could catch one. But are the creatures in my garden infected? How could I know? Knowing if other dogs in my area have been affected would help. I'm sure my vet will help my owner understand whether I need protection, and also what to look out for if I were ever to become ill.
Got to go now. There's a ball to catch.
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