"When should I de-worm my dog, and how often?“

I regularly get asked this question at my practice. The answer is simple: “When he's got worms.“ 
"But how do I know if he's got worms?“ is the next question.

To find out, we make use of the microscopic examination of faeces. If worms, eggs or larvae can be detected in his faeces, then the dog must be de-wormed. Follow your vet's instructions or the directions in the worm treatment packet. The dose depends on the type of medication prescribed.

If there are no worms, eggs or larvae found, this merely means there were no parasites in this sample. In order to maximise the probability that a negative test does in fact mean you can rule out a worm infestation, you should collect a sample of every pile your dog makes for three days in a row, and have each one examined. In addition, symptoms such as diarrhoea, a dull coat, loss of appetite or general reduced health will alert you to the possibility that your dog may have worms.

"But I've always heard that you should de-worm your dog prophylactically twice a year?“ a lot of dog owners insist. Well, those who want to make things easy for themselves can subject their dog regularly or after possible exposure (contact with puppies, when their dog's eaten a mouse or a rat, or had fleas) to a worm cure. The aim is to kill the parasites, should there be any in the intestines and should they be there only for a limited time. Nevertheless, this is not ever a prophylactic measure as, for example, an innoculation would be, because a worm cure will not protect your dog from getting worms in the future. It can only kill off worms which are presently there!

On the principle “If at all possible, don't cause damage with a treatment,“ the above-mentioned faeces examination is definitely preferable because, after all, de-worming medications are also poisons which at the very least put strain on the dog's organism, even if they don't make him visibly ill.

Dr. Michael Fischer
Veterinary Surgeon and Specialist for Homeopathy
Vienna, Austria