Today, I am posting a interesting article written byChristine Wilford who received her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Texas A&M University, Texas.The point of the article is that doing fecal exam on your German Shepherd Dog is likely a waste of time and money.Like all animals, your dog will get stomach worms, such as round, hook, tape, and whip worms are the most common.We at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennel do not do fecal exams rather like livestock ranchers, we assume that our dogs will get worms; therefore we place them on a worming program.Thus, worming our dogs twice a year for less than the cost of a fecal exam, which as you will read is not a reliable method to determine whether your German shepherd has or does not have worms.You too can learn how to worm your German Shepherd Dog for less than the cost of a fecal exam.
I’m Worm Free Because Dad Worms Me Twice a Year
FECAL EXAM RELIABILITY
A common test for worms may not always give you the right results
A majority of owners may be surprised to learn how inaccurate the common fecal examination really is.Many owners are familiar with the annual regimen of bringing fresh fecal samples to their dogs’ annual physical examinations.Likewise, most owners take heart in hearing their dogs’ test are normal or, alternatively, owners are glad to receive medications for treating the worms lurking within the bowels of their companions.But what do these results really tell us?Understanding how the test is run and knowing a few facts about intestinal worms can help you understand the test’s relative inaccuracies.
In general, the fresher the sample, the more accurate the test results.As a sample ages, the contents of the eggs may hatch, may dry out and burst, or may mix well enough with the solution to be separated and float.How fresh is fresh?The preservation of worm eggs in a stool sample varies tremendously depending on temperature, humidity, and the consistency of the sample.AS time elapses, eggs will degrade and thus will go unrecognized when the slide is examined.During busy times of the day, other priorities may cause fecal samples to be left unexamined far beyond the optimal reading time.Even when a sample is fresh and handled appropriately, results may still be unreliable.
The chances of finding a worm egg depend on how many worms there are in the intestine, how many of the worms are female, the maturity of the worms and whether the females were laying eggs during the time that the feces was formed.If there are only a few worms in the intestines, the relative number of eggs laid in a fecal sample is usually much lower than if there is a heavy worm concentration in the dog.It is also possible to have a significant worm burden with relatively few female worms present; thus, a dog could have clinical signs of intestinal worms without showing evidence of that in a fecal examination.Similarly, if many of the worms are too immature to lay eggs, there will be no way to identify their presence through a simple fecal exam.
Additionally, because worms do not lay eggs at a constant rate, there may be no eggs in a fecal sample simply because the feces were formed and collected during a period when the adult female worms were not shedding eggs.
Based on this information, one could argue that an annual screening of an otherwise healthy dog is an unnecessary, and possibly inaccurate, test.So why bother checking a fecal sample if the results could be misleading?If no eggs are found, then there may be no worms present or there may be worms and they’ve gone undiagnosed.Owners cannot depend on a single negative result.Veterinarians who specialize in the gastrointestinal diseases recommend examining three separate fecal samples before concluding that a negative result is reliable.
When your dog’s stool is abnormal, that is, if you see blood, mucus, or a change of color or consistency, or your dog has loose stools, a fecal examination is advisable.Depending on the types of worms present, clinical signs may not occur or may be subtle.Worms do not necessarily cause weight loss or decreased activity.
In many cases, veterinarians use deworming medication as a diagnostic tool when fecal exams do not reveal worm eggs.In fact, it may be easier, cheaper, and faster to administer a deworming medication that eliminates the common types of intestinal worms.If the stools return to normal, it is concluded that the clinical signs were caused by intestinal worms.Sometimes, common sense and practicality should prevail over complicated and expensive diagnostic tests.
There are some basic care for your German Shepherd Dog that every owner should be aware of and that is what I am going to discuss today. While German shepherd Dogs are relative low maintenance compared to other breeds you will need to trim their nails at least once a month and while doing so you can check the dog’s body for other problems. After doing the nails comb the coat thoroughly with a straight steel pin brush to remove dead hair.Check the skin for abrasions, ticks, or other problems.We sell top quality steel rakes and grooming brushes at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels.Often our prices are better than the big chain pet stores and we can ship.
A Happy Well Maintained and Healthy Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog
If your dog is not eating well (it might be wormy) or if it appears to in ill health or not feeling well, take their temperature rectally for two minutes.The normal temperature for a dog will be 101.5 – 102°.If it is high or low you should consider contacting your veterinarian.
A Happy Heidelberg Puppy Litter Resting After Having Their Monthly Health Check
Heartworm preventive is a must for your puppy/dog or they can die of heartworms caused by mosquitoes. We use IVOMEC beginning at twelve weeks for puppies and of course continue their monthly dose for the rest of their life. Therefore it is a good idea to give them their heart worm preventative while clipping their nails and grooming every month.
It is a good idea to check for ear mites and ear infections every month. If you see signs of ear mites then treat your German shepherd Dog immediately.Although since we have started using Advantix and Frontline to treat our shepherds for pests such as fleas and ticks we have not seen a case of ear mites.Whereas, ear mite infections used to be quite common.Also, note if your shepherd seems to be holding one ear lower than the other, shaking its head, or pawing at its ear and you have ruled out ear mites as the cause, you may want to make an appointment with your vet immediately because ear infections in German shepherd Dogs are serious and can become life threatening.
It’s Time For My First Heartworm Treatment
The most common symptoms of ear mites: ears appear inflamed/red, ears refusing to stand, scratching on or behind the ear, shaking of head or holding head to one side, and/or visible dark dirt or wax in inner ear (actually ear mite poop).
Fleas and ticks: Nothing causes your dog more misery and disease than fleas and ticks!The life cycle of the flea is as short as six days in an ideal growing condition.In other words, a flea goes from egg through larval and mature state in only six days.To put this in the proper perspective, only ten fleas can become TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY TOUSAND fleas in only thirty days!
While fleas carry less diseases than ticks, they do carry tape worm eggs that can cause your dog’s health to suffer.Ticks carry several diseases that German Shepherd Dogs are susceptible to, and if not removed from your dog’s environment most assuredly will cause the death of your beloved shepherd.We at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels used to struggle and spend small fortunes fighting ticks and fleas until they came out with Advantix several years ago.Now we have no fleas or ticks on our dogs.
We treat monthly with Advantix and switch out the next month with Frontline and have successfully eliminated fleas and ticks from our property.Even our wild rabbits and squirrels are tick free because they use the treated – shed fur from our dogs as nesting material.
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Today’s discussion is anything but glamorous.However, it is an important discussion for the health of your German Shepherd Dog and possibly your family.German Shepherd Dogs are unusually clean and try to get as far away from their feces as possible, and often will choose one specific area in the yard to defecate.Our Heidelberg German shepherd Dogs will actually try to bury their feces after defecating. They do this by scratching soil and grass over their poop after they defecate. As the owner of a German Shepherd Dog, it is your responsibility to clean up after them.If you live in a subdivision consider your neighbors olfactory sensitivity especially in the summer. Be a good neighbor and pick up your dog’s poop daily.
German shepherd Dog Covering Up After Pooping
All dogs will get stomach worms and worms such as hook, tape, and round contaminate the environment with their eggs when your German Shepherd Dog defecates.Worms such as hook and round worms can infest your yard with their eggs for months and in some cases for years if you allow the feces to break down and spread into your soil. The infected backyard can become a low risk health hazard to small children that could become infected if they contact the infected soil and then stick their hands in their mouth.For hookworms a person can become infected by simply contacting the infected soil with bare skin.Fortunately, the hookworms cannot survive in the human body and soon die upon entering the skin, and thus become a slightly annoying rash for a few days. This rash is known as “plumbers itch”. In addition, if you allow your yard to become infested with worm eggs, your dog will continue to be re-infected costing you unnecessary money to treat your German Shepherd Dog for worms.
Grand Champion Heidelberg’s Kodiak v Queridad Enjoying a Clean Yard
Feces left in your yard will also attract and breed biting flies and the common houseflies.If flies drive you nuts in the summer then do yourself a favor and keep your yard clean and the number of flies around and in your house will decrease.
All the above can be avoided by simply picking up the poop every day.Most German Shepherd Dogs will defecate two to four times a day.It should take you no more than five minutes to keep your German Shepherd Dog healthy, happy and worm free, as well as keep your yard clean.
German Shepherd Dog Pooping
Purchase a Pooper Scooper at your local pet store.The average cost will be approximately twenty dollars, but is well worth it because it allows you to clean up fast and efficiently.