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It would be well for the dog owner who gives too freely to his dogs such useful worm medicines as oil of chenopodium, carbon tetracholoride, tetrachlorethylene, thymol, areca nut, etc., to remember that practically all potent drugs used for the removal of worms from the bowels of the dog are more or less toxic in action and certain conditions under which they should or should not be given must be respected for safety sake.
Certain drugs require certain methods of preparation of the patient and certain procedure when the drug is given, in order to ensure the greatest efficiency and least risk. For instance, the drugs carbon tetrachloride and tetrachlorethylene will be more intelligently used if not given to the dog on a full stomach, given in capsules and followed by a saline purge but never with oil; castor oil is not an exception. Also the patient should not be calcium deficient when these drugs are to be used and the dog should not have fats in his diet for several days before treatment.
The dog owner should also remember that no one drug will successfully remove all the different kinds of worms found in the dog’s bowels. Worms vary in their reaction to the toxic action of different drugs just the same as do different species of animals. A drug might remove tape worms very successfully but would have no action on hook worms and a drug that might remove effectively all the hook worms would have little if any effect on whip worms.
It is not the number of worms that are voided after treatment that forecasts the success or failure of the treatment but the number of worms left in the dog’s bowels and the condition of the dog after treatment. You may remove what looks like a lot of worms and still have as many remaining in the bowels or you may drastically treat a non-wormbearing patent and have a mighty sick dog afterwards.
The guess work can be eliminated in the diagnosis of worm infestation by microscropical examination of the dog’s fecal matter for worm ova and when you know the kind of worm your dog is harboring, the drug best suited for the removal of that particular worm should be employed.
Excerpted from Dog World magazine, February 1929, Vol. 14. For back issues of Dog World, click here.