Preventing pesky parasites in working dogs

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sheep-dog

The results from two recent studies examining the control of worms in working dogs was one topic at last month’s Australian Sheep Veterinarians conference in Dubbo.

In his presentation at the event, Dr David Jenkins from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at Charles Sturt University, explained that these studies showed there are now fewer cases of tapeworm in working sheep dogs although hookworms and whipworms in rural dogs are still common.

“We can attribute this to a few factors including palatable and relatively inexpensive commercial dry dog food, the inclusion of tapeworm control in parasite prevention products, and the increased uptake in worm prevention from farmers,” said Dr Jenkins.

“This is certainly good news and owners should be praised for their efforts in this area.”

An ongoing problem, however, is that as well as dry food, owners feed their dogs raw meat or raw offal which increases the risk of parasitic infections, especially if owners do not deworm their dogs frequently enough to ensure they are adequately protected.

In addition to deworming and a diet of ‘safe’ foods, Dr Jenkins recommends owners keep dogs kennelled in a clean area—preferably in a pen with a concrete base for easy cleaning—to minimise the risk of infection.

“If we’re going to see a decline in parasitic disease in working sheep dogs, it’s essential that owners have all the right information and that they’re acting on it,” said Dr Jenkins.

“These studies really point to the fact that an ongoing conversation needs to be happening between farmers and their veterinarian to ensure dogs on farms are best protected against parasitic infections.”

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