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How do you know if dog has fleas or worms?

April 5th, 2005, 10:34 AM
Being that there is a lot of talk about flea and worm season coming up, how do you tell if your dog has either?? Can you see fleas on their body? Can you see worms in their poop??

April 5th, 2005, 10:40 AM
Fleas may be difficult to see, although some flea combs claim that you will see them on the comb. Sometimes you can see them in the bath water too.

My vet always checked the skin. Little black spots on pink flesh are flea poop (I know, gross).

As for worms, I have only encountered them in pups so far, and deworming is standard treatment with pups.

Fleas can be transmitted through the grass, as well as being transmitted from animal to animal. My personal choice is one of the topical flea/heartworm treatments. (I am sure you know that heartworm larve are carried by mosquitos, and the worms attack the heart of the animal).

Worms are detected by a stool sample, more for the larve that the actual worms. But if a dog is on deworming treatment, you can see them in the stool, or actually leaving the animal.

Hope this helps.

April 5th, 2005, 10:55 AM
Thanks. It does.

I saw some black flecks on Odin's coat in the last week, but when I pick them up, they look like fluff, not bugs. I was concerned a little, however, I think it's only fluff from the floor as he likes to roll around on his back a lot. it could also be dirt from outside as it's been so windy.

Now...a question I have about worming medications. Odin was "dewormed" in January before we got him. What exactly does that mean, and how long does it last. Does deworming also occur if they don't have worms (as a precaution), or only if they do.

Bulldogs are very sensitive to things like medications and vaccinations. It was actually suggested that we forgoe future vaccinations (except rabies) because he has a supressed immune system. Are topical flea/heartworm medications safer than internal ones? Which are less potent? We were at the vets yesterday getting a repeat on some eye medication for Odin, and they suggested we go in for a spring check up to get his stool checked for worms etc, and get medication for the summer.

April 5th, 2005, 11:01 AM
The black flea pooh is actually on their skin, you can scrape it off with your fingernail. It is not usually loose like that. Usually, there is always a danger in generalizations.

Deworming is pretty standard in rescue, especially if you do not know where the dog came from.

I believe that the internal and topical medications are equally effective. Some dogs did not like the taste of Heartguard, etc, so topical is easier for them. Topical treatments are more difficult for dogs that are in the water a lot, as they have to be dry for a couple of days before and after each treatment in order for the skin oils to spread the treatment effectively. Your vet can guide you on this. It sounds like topical might be better, but I do not know if Odin has skin issues too.

April 5th, 2005, 11:13 AM
Odin has some skin issues, but mostly on his feet and face, and a little on his neck. He has chewed some fur off his feet in a few small places, but the vet said not to worry about it. You apply topical medications to the neck right?

April 5th, 2005, 11:13 AM
i don't know if this is true in all cases, but with my sister's puppy, she was 5 weeks old, with a VERY round belly, but you could still feel her ribs. and i would put my hand on her stomach, and actually feel something moving in it, so i told my mom she had worms. of course, she didn't buy the pills until we found worms in Boomer's poop. as for fleas, if you see strange small clumps of "dirt", if you pick them off their skin and put them on a piece of white paper and swirl it in water, and it turns out to be blood, then yea, they have fleas.

April 5th, 2005, 11:16 AM
I have found that finding evidence of fleas is rather easy, bot on my cats and my dog. Justice has ever had fleas, due to flea prevention treatment.
All you have to do is take a flea comb to him, if you find specks of 'dirt', then place them on a paper town and moisten them, if they dissolve and end up looking a lil red, that is evidence of fleas. dirt will just disintegrate as well, but without the telling red color.
My vet did this with my cat once, so I asked him to explain so i could be checking at home. the cat didn't have fleas, she just likes to roll in the dirt

Warms.... have no idea, newish dog owner myself.

Lucky Rescue
April 5th, 2005, 11:28 AM
It was actually suggested that we forgoe future vaccinations (except rabies)

When I got my dog, I got her the necessary shots, and a couple boosters for things like distemper and lepto. Now I am giving her ONLY rabies vax, at intervals dictated by law.

Fleas would be very easy to see on a white, short coated dog. They like to hang around ears and belly portions of the dog and you would probably see them very easily running around. All flea and worm killers are pesticides, whether put on the skin or given orally, which is why (other than heartworm meds) I only like to use them if there is actually a problem.

We seem to be having a very wet spring so far, so I'm not too worried about fleas although of course your dog could get them from infested dogs.

If you see black specks, just try dropping them in water. If it dissolves and turns red, then you have fleas.

April 5th, 2005, 11:34 AM
Lucky, that's basically what I was thinking. Rabies vax only when required, and possibly only heartworm. I will be consulting with our regular vet soon and get the details on heartworm in our area.

April 5th, 2005, 02:35 PM
Be careful with Lepto though, it came to Montreal a few years ago.

April 5th, 2005, 03:05 PM
my vet recommended a heartworm med for sammy, i cant recall the name but it also takes care of fleas according to the vet.

so sammy will be going on it, however the vet said its not necessary to treat him till may

so he will get it then


April 5th, 2005, 03:10 PM
a few of you mentioned forgoing most shots after the initial stuff.

may i ask why?
not that i think thats wrong, im just curious if there is a reason not to that i never heard before

April 5th, 2005, 03:14 PM
the reason is that vaccines can cause vaccinosis, especially in dogs with allergies and weekend immune systems. Just do a google search for vaccinosis and you can learn all out it.

Some vaccines are made with live viruses, and some vets don't change the dossage for larger or smaller animals. Also, vaccinosis can arise if multiple vaccines are in one dose.

There are vets out there now that only use killed vaccines, and only one at a time, far spaced apart, and with better dossage amount depending on the size of the animal. Less chance of vaccinosis then.

April 5th, 2005, 11:33 PM
When I was growing up we had a dog that got worms all the time and she would let us know when it was deworming time by dragging her butt along the floor (I know, gross).

For fleas I find the best place to look on a dog is on the tummy, just give a long belly rub and if there are fleas around you'll usually spot one crawling around since there isn't as much hair to cover them. For cats I check around the ears where the hair is thinner. Looking for the black flecks works too, and feeling for little scabs.

A question about the vaccinosis, should you just be worried about it if you have a small dog then? And is the vaccinosis worse than the diseases they may catch? Forgive my ignorance here, this is the first I've heard of this!

April 6th, 2005, 12:04 AM
When I was growing up we had a dog that got worms all the time and she would let us know when it was deworming time by dragging her butt along the floor (I know, gross). Are you sure that was worms and not anal glands?