Parasites are living organisms that develop their life on the surface or inside another living being, and can cause diseases of various evolution.
The parasites that can affect our dog can be classified into two types, depending on their location in the animal:
- External parasites: they live and develop their activity on the surface of the parasitized animal.
- Internal parasites: they live and develop their activity inside the parasitized animal.
The animal that contains parasites, internal or external, is called the ‘host’, and they can be:
- Definitive hosts: those that harbor the adult or mature forms of the parasite in their body.
- Intermediate hosts: those that harbor the immature forms of the parasite in their body. These intermediate hosts can, and often are, species other than the definitive host.
The disembarkation and colonization of the body of our dog (host) by the various types of parasites is known as parasitic infestation.
The infestation causes various presentations, symptoms, depending on the organic zone colonized, the possible transmission of diseases by the parasite, the number of parasites that are located in the animal, the state of the animal…
The internal parasites that can affect family canids can also affect humans (zoonoses), with the smallest of the household and people with a depressed immune system being the most affected.
Internal parasites can be classified into two large groups:
- Nematodes or Ascaris : they are long parasites, cylindrical in shape and with their sharpest structure at the ends. The length of adult specimens can vary from a millimeter to more than fifteen centimeters. The mouth is usually able to adhere to the host and be able to feed.
The most common Ascaris are Toxocara and Toxáscaris .
- Cestodes or Tapeworms: They are flattened organisms, similar to a tape, that almost always live in the small intestine of the host. The heads of these parasites have extraction systems, “harpoons”, or a combination of both. Some species of Cestodes can reach several meters in length, and the same individual of this group of Tapeworms can have both sexes (hermaphroditism). Among the most common Cestodes:
. Echinococcus Granulosus.
. Dipylidium caninum.
Among the external parasites with the highest incidence in the dog we have:
- Arachnids: Ticks.
- Insects: Fleas.
With regard to ticks, apart from the dog’s logical loss of blood, due to its ingestion habit (an adult female can ingest more than three cc. of the vital fluid, so many ticks together on the animal can cause of anemia), ticks are also the cause of skin lesions , and the transmission of important diseases :
- Borreliosis or Lyme disease
The vampiric eating habit of fleas causes significant health problems for a large number of people and animals that inhabit the planet.
The ingestion of blood is not the only problem, in the act of stinging and sucking, the possibility of the transmission of bacteria, protozoa, viruses and worms that “reside” in the parasite is opened up, and not only that: the bite of the The flea causes variable effects depending on the individual sensitivity ( allergy ) of the parasitized animal, the parasite’s saliva can cause irritation, rash and the practically inevitable appearance of a grain of variable prominence, adorned with an unmistakable red halo, in the bite area.
This can be complemented by an annoying itch, which leads the dog to injure himself by continuous scratching, licking or biting.
If we focus on the diseases that fleas can transmit, let us remember what was said about Dypilidium Caninum.
As we have been able to verify, the presence of parasites in our dear friend is something that we must take into account, both for his health and for ours.
It is essential to follow the antiparasitic guidelines recommended by our veterinarian, a guideline that must be strict for both external parasites and internal parasites , being necessary on more than one occasion the combination of several drugs or systems to ensure adequate prevention.