May 18, 2006

Shih Tzu – Common Parasites In Dogs

Some common parasites affecting shih tzu and dogs in generalare: Chiggers, coccidiosis, fleas, flies, giardia, heartworm,hookworms, lice and mange.

There are three basic forms of parasitism: Internal organs,blood and skin. The geographical region in which you live willdetermine which parasites can affect your shih tzu.

Worms are a common parasitic infestation and one cause ofdiarrhea. The presence of diarrhea, however, does not mean adefinitive diagnosis of “worms.” Definite diagnosis is made by aveterinarian, under microscopic examination, of a fresh fecal orblood sample. Only a veterinarian who has made the determinationof the type of parasitic infestation should prescribemedications to treat the infestation.

Chiggers affect man and dogs and are prevalent in southern U.S.Areas. Eradication if chiggers is generally best achieved bymanual removal. Prevention is somewhat effective if you willlimit your shih tzu to manicured grass.

Coccidiosis cause an enteritis condition of cats and dogs.Coccidiosis is most common in puppies and kittens. Symptoms aremild to severe bloody diarrhea, lethargy and weakness fromdehabilitation of nutrients caused by the diarrhea, anorexia anddeath if not treated. Coccidiosis is seldom fatal when treatedwith the proper medication by the veterinarian who diagnoses theparasite in a timely manner. Coccidiosis is always present amongcanines. Some canines become carriers and have no symptomsthemselves. Excessive stress can cause symptom producingcoccidia in very young puppies and kittens that can become lifethreatening if not treated properly.

Fleas are most common to dogs of any breed including the shihtzu. Fleas constantly bite and can produce allergic reactions insome shih tzu or any breed of dog. A sensitive dog will scratchand chew to relieve the itch, only to produce a “hotspot” orsome other type of skin dermatitis which can lead to a secondaryinfection.. Fleas can also act as temporary hosts in tapeworms’life cycles. A dog can acquire a tapeworm as it chews and ingestthe fleas. Tapeworms can be effectively treated by your vet. Thebest protocol is to avoid fleas altogether. Flea control iscomparatively easy through a wide selectin of products includingsoaps, shampoos, sprays, powders, dips, natural and herbaltreatments.

Giardia is usually found around remote bodies of water. It canoccur in dogs or shih tzu of any age and can be transferred tohumans. Onset is usually sudden. Symptoms are diarrhea,lethargy, lack of appetite and weight loss. Diagnosis is made byfecal microscopic examination. Resolution is successful providedtreatment is initiated early.

Heartworm occurs in two forms throughout the lower forty-eightstates. One is harmless, the other if left untreated is deadly.The heartworm is carried by mosquito bites. Diagnosis is madethrough a blood test. Regular prophylactic treatment isavailable and highly recommended.

Hookworms are found primarily in the southern portions of theUnited States. Infection may also be transferred to puppies fromthe mother’s milk. For this reason, all newborn puppies need tobe regularly dewormed starting at 2 weeks of age up until atleast 12 weeks of age following the recommendations and scheduleof your own personal vet. There are a variety of dewormersavailable that completely eradicate the problem of hookworms.

Mange occurs in one of two forms: Demodex or Sarcoptes. Positivediagnosis can be made only by a veterinarian under microscopicexamination of skin samples taken from an affected area. Iftreated early, mange can be completely cured. Treatment isusually by therapeutic shampoor or dips once a week for severalweeks. Prevention of the mite infestations that can causeSarcoptes mange is recommended. Ask your vet for appropriatemange mite medication to prevent the disease. The same mitesthat cause mange in dogs and shih tzu can cause ear mites andear infections.

About the author:

Connie Limon publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professionalnewsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you andyour pets. Discounts on shih tzu puppies are offered tosubscribers. Sign up at:

Connie Limon

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