In biology, a parasitic relationship is defined as a relationship in which one organism (the parasite) lives on or within the other (host), and may cause the host harm.
Parasites are organisms that find nourishment by living on or within another animal. Dogs fall victim to several parasites, some of which are external, such as fleas and ear mites, and some intestinal, like intestinal worms that affects puppies soon after their birth. These parasites can lead to many dog illnesses, including secondary skin infections and Lyme disease. Some of them are also known to cause zoonotic diseases, i.e., diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans.
Taking into consideration the threat to your pet's and your own life―or that of your family for that matter, it's but obvious that you need to take a serious note of the issue and deal with it at the earliest.
Source of Infection: Fleas are the most common of external parasites in dogs. They can get activated by body heat, vibration, and dog odors. Flea larvae mature into fleas and hop a ride on the dog for a blood meal. Once aboard, they will spend the rest of their lives producing babies.
Symptoms and Treatment: Flea bites primarily lead to itching in dogs. You may also find fleas or flea dirt, i.e., shiny specks on the skin, especially over the rump. It is possible to prevent and treat fleas by using over-the-counter medication.
Source of Infection: Ear mites are transmitted from one dog to another. In most of the cases, they are transmitted from the mother to her puppies. Ear mites mostly affect dogs with weak immunity and are most active at night. Sarcoptic mites tunnel into the skin, which eventually leads to scabies. Cheyletiella mites, on the other hand, commonly infect puppies.
Symptoms and Treatment: You may observe wax and debris along with itchy ears if the dog is infected with mites. In most likelihood, the vet will advice ear drops to treat this infection.
Source of Infection: There are many types of ticks that hide in tall grasses and jump on the dog the minute he comes by. They attach themselves to the dog by digging their mouth into its skin. It will suck a blood meal until it bloats and drops off. Ticks are carriers of many diseases, including the Lyme disease.
Symptoms and Treatment: You need to use tweezers for removing ticks from dogs. Do not pull them out as their parts can remain engorged in the dog skin and eventually lead to an infection. Never squeeze a blotted tick attached to the dog, as this will release infected blood into the dog's body.
Source of Infection: Puppies can be infected by roundworms from their mother in the womb or from suckling on their mother's infected skin.
Symptoms and Treatment: Pot-belly is one of the symptoms of this condition. As for prevention, puppies that are about 14 days old and pregnant dogs should be wormed routinely with products like fenbendazole.
Source of Infection: Dipylidium caninum is a common type of tapeworm in dogs, and is transmitted when the dog eats an infected flea. Dogs can also contract the disease from uncooked meat, especially that of a sheep.
Symptoms and Treatment:Symptoms of tapeworms are very rare. The most common symptom is dried tapeworm segments around the anus that appear like grains of rice in the hair. You need to treat the dog with praziquantel. You should never feed the dog uncooked meat.
Source of Infection: Mosquito bites is the main cause of heartworm eggs being passed on to a dog. The eggs hatch and mature into large worms, which reside in the dog's heart.
Symptoms and Treatment: You can prevent this condition by using selamectin or ivermectin. For treatment though, you will have to consult a vet immediately.
Source of Infection: Uncinaria is a hookworm species that is found in cold regions. A dog gets infected by this species when it comes in contact with things that are contaminated by worm eggs.Ancylostoma hookworm is found in warm climates and contracted through mother's milk. The larvae of Ancylostoma can burrow through the skin of the dog and cause infection.
Symptoms and Treatment: The symptoms of hookworm parasite in canines are weight loss, diarrhea, and blood in the stool. You may observe skin inflammation around the paws or belly. Treatment of hookworms includes mother and puppies to be wormed with fenbendazole. Keep the dogs surrounding clean to prevent an infection.
Source of Infection: Giardia in dogs is a microscopic, single-celled parasite. Dogs are infected with canine Giardia as a result of drinking contaminated water.
Symptoms and Treatment: The main symptom of this condition is unexplained diarrhea. The stools may contain blood in some cases. Abdominal pain is also a symptom of infection. You need to give the dog fenbendazole and consult the vet for further treatment.
Source of Infection: Whipworm eggs can survive for years in shaded areas. Dogs are infected with whipworms by unknowingly eating these eggs. These egg mature into tiny adult worms that cause severe intestinal damage.
Symptoms and Treatment:Symptoms of whipworm infection include diarrhea, smelly stools, and tarry with dark blood. Additionally, the coat becomes dull, dog loses weight and may suffer from abdominal pain as well. You need to visit the vet for immediate treatment and worming of whipworm.
Your dog's health depends on how much you care for him. If you subject your pet dog to proper care and take him to a vet for routine checkup on a regular basis, it will definitely help you keep all these illnesses at bay.