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This week’s guest blog is a bit of a departure from the usual tales of raw fed dogs. I heard about wormcount.com when someone posted a link on facebook. I haven’t used them as yet but I have heard good reviews and I am going to get some kits for both regular screening and for if Ted shows some unusual symptoms that mean I want a sample checking out. The cost of my vet doing this for me is quite breathtaking so I was really pleased to find this service.

The site is very informative and they were more than happy to help me out by writing a guest blog. Although not exclusively a raw feeding issue I do know that once you start to question pet food you often also start to question the use of chemicals, and anecdotally I find raw feeders tend to be more likely to avoid chemical wormers. That doesn’t mean we take our pet’s health lightly though so I’m sure many of you will be interested in this service.

The service is UK based but for overseas clients you can contact them directly as there is a small extra charge for postage. They are happy to send kits abroad but if the filled sample kit is going to take longer than about 4 days to get to them, it may compromise the sample and any eggs may have started to hatch which will give a false negative.  Europe, east USA, middle east countries are probably fine.

And here’s their guest blog:

“Wormcount Dotcom is the UK’s first independent laboratory to offer routine worm counts to owners of dogs, cats, horses, farm animals, even tortoises! So why, in particular, are we doing dog worm counts? There has to be a really good reason, because of all the poo we test, doggy is definitely the most ‘perfumed’! (Another good reason to switch to raw feeding, less smelly poo – Ed)

But yes, there is a really good reason as dogs (and cats actually), carry a variety of internal and external parasites which can be passed on to you and can cause anything from itching to blindness (Toxocariasis) especially where there are children around.

The Family Album

A small selection of the parasites we routinely screen for

So if it’s that important, why are we worm-counting at all? Why not simply pop in a worming pill and have done with it?  Well, horse owners are very familiar with the current British Veterinary Association (BVA) Guidelines which, in a nutshell, are trying to minimize the amount of worming products used on horses because horse worms are becoming resistant to wormers due, in some part, to over-worming with a very limited number of products. 

Fortunately there is no known resistance in dog and cat worms so owners are free to regularly worm their pets.  The recommended dosage for most wormers is every three months (for pharmaceutical products) though in some circumstances this interval can be shortened. Most herbal wormers require monthly dosing.  Your local pet shop will have a qualified SQP (Suitably Qualified Person) who will talk you through dosages and products.

HOWEVER!! You may religiously worm your boy or girl, whether it is every three months or only once a year, but you still worm.  Your pet takes the pill and skips off either to play or to hide under something, totally affronted.  You firmly believe that you have done your best by your pet by popping the pill into his mouth.  The trouble with this is that quite a lot of animals have cottoned on to the fact that they can hide their pill under their tongue, inside their cheek or even in their tummy!  They then run off and either spit the pill out or, if swallowed, vomit it up when you are not looking. Waste of effort and waste of money! 

There is a product available only from your Vet which is a spot-on which kills internal and external parasites (fleas and ticks) which will help if you have problems with the above however, it is quite expensive and is a strong chemical which may not be what you want to use on a very regular basis. Then there is the problem of dosage, do you really know how heavy your pet is?  If you underestimate the weight you will under worm which really means you may as well not bother as all you will do is kill the weak worms and leave the strong ones to thrive.

Of course, you don’t HAVE to worm your pet – it’s not compulsory but if you have a look at our website at www.wormcount.com, you will see some pretty compelling reasons why you should find out for sure if your pet is clear! Dogs, cats, horses etc etc pick up worms and other parasites alarmingly easily! The only way to tell for sure what is going on inside your pet’s gut is to have some faeces tested.  That way you will know that whatever you are using (or think you are using) is working or not. 

Also, if you are one of the owners that only worms when they see signs that your animal has a worm or you use your vet to routinely test for worms, then Wormcount Dotcom is the service you’ve been looking for! Some signs that your dog has a worm burden are: white wriggly things in the poo or the fur, loss of weight or a pot belly, scratching the anus on the carpet (although this could be anal gland problems) and vomiting. (There are lots more signs that I am sure you are aware of and also the above symptoms could mean lots of other things, not just worms).

At Wormcount Dotcom we routinely screen for all the roundworms including Toxocara, Lung worm, Hook worm and Whip worm. The tapeworms we look for are Dipylidium Caninum, all the Taenia species and the Echinococus species. We test for simple protozoa including flagellates and also Giardia. We do not test for crypto or coccidia species (Toxoplasmosis and Coccidiosis) as this requires blood tests which must be carried out by your vet.

But for peace of mind and to rule out a worm or simple protozoa burden if your pet is showing some unusual symptoms, visit our website at www.wormcount.com, learn about some of the parasites mentioned above and find out how to get your fantastic value £6.50 worm count (most vets will charge up to £50 and do the identical tests as us, often sending the sample away to a lab for testing!) getting the kit and taking the sample is really easy and the kit contains full instructions and all you need.

If you don’t regularly worm your pet we recommend worm counting every six months and if you do worm then worm count once a year just to check that your worming is working. ‘Like’ us on Facebook (from the website) for a chance to win a free worm count and become a friend to have our weekly blogs fed straight to your facebook wall. You can also follow us on twitter (also from the website).

Thank you for reading this and if you have any queries please take a look at the website and contact us for more info.”