The Australian Shepherd Dog

The Australian Shepherd Dog

The Australian Shepherd dog is susceptible to several illnesses that are mostly inherited. The current paper aims to address two of the common diseases that Australian shepherd dogs are prone and provide a synopsis and overview of the disorders. The two illnesses chosen for analysis are tapeworms from dogs and hookworm.

  1. Hookworm

Several species of hookworm specifically affect dogs and are transferable to humans and other animals. The species include Ancylostoma brazilense, A. caninum, A. ceylanicum and Ucinaria stenocephala (CDC, 2018).  The parasites can infect the dogs through the environment they interact with including the soil. The eggs of the parasites are shed into the fecal matter of the infected animals and end up on the ground. As a result, the eggs contaminate the environment where the animals have defecated.

As for people, cases of infection arise when the person comes into contact with the hookworm larvae. The larvae penetrate the skin which in most cases is unprotected. For instance, when walking barefoot or sitting near the contaminated soil or the ground.  Dog hookworms are prominent in tropical and warmer climates (CDC, 2018). For instance, in the United States of America, zoonotic hookworms are commonly found along the East Coast and the West Coast.

The infection in humans can cause severe itchiness around the infected area. As a result, it can lead to red lines which can form as a reaction to the hookworm. During penetration, the itchiness is an immediate reaction (Bowman et al., 2010). However, the larvae will die after several weeks of infecting the skin. The larvae will die, but it will not continue to develop; Thus, the itchiness and red lines will disappear. It is advised nonetheless, that scratching along the tracks can further increase bacterial infection in humans.

In dogs, the hookworms can be deadly especially in dogs. The infestation is commonly referred to as ancylostomiasis. It can affect the small intestines of dogs. In stage four of infection, the hookworms can cause anemia in dogs and inflammation of the small intestines. As a result, it can cause blood in the stool (CDC, 2018). The symptoms and signs of infestations include poor appetite and lining of nostrils, lips, and ears of dogs look pale. In the case of outbreaks in the lining of the digestive tract, the dark and bloody stool is ordinary and constipation. In the lungs, the dog severely coughs.

The treatment of cutaneous larva margins in humans does not require medical interventions. The reason is due to the ability of the larvae to die within seven weeks of exposure. On the other hand, dogs need medical care (CDC, 2018). The medication is known as heartworm which will expel the larvae from the dogs. Also, parallel nutritional and iron supplementation is necessary.

Prevention of hookworms in dogs is that the environment around them should be kept clean. This involves the accumulation of water in containers, low-lying areas including a pond should be removed. In humans, the need to wear shoes and protective measures to avoid skin contact with sand and soil is necessary.

  1. Tapeworm from Dogs

The medical term for tapeworm in dogs is known as cestodiasis. The tapeworms occasionally settle in the small intestine of dogs as well as puppies. The species include Taenia, Dipylidium caninum, Echinococcus and Mesocestoides (Jiang et al., 2017). Tapeworms are acquired through the ingestion of the tapeworm larvae. The larvae can be ingested from animals such as rabbits, rodents and birds. The adult lays eggs on the animals, and the dog swallows them. To diagnose the presence of tapeworms, veterinarian use stool sample and compare it to a standard gauge stool scale. In most cases, dogs will exhibit the need to lick the anus region or drag the nus region across a rough surface.

In humans, the conventional type of zoonotic tapeworm is the flea tapeworm. The tapeworm is transmitted through swallowing of the larvae or the infected flea. In adults, the transmission is limited but, in children, the chances increase. Similarly, in dogs, the transmission can occur when the dog ingests the flea larvae while licking itself. The larvae tapeworm that is ingested will quickly develop into an adult tapeworm (Jenkins, 2017). The tapeworm is made up of small intermittent segments known as proglottids- resembling the size of a rice grain. As the tapeworm reaches the large intestines, the short portions dissipate and are passed through the stool. As the proglottids reach the anus, the eggs are released into the environment, and the segment dries out around the anal region.

As noted earlier, the dog will drag itself across the floor. In worst case scenarios, the dog may vomit which occurs when the worm is in its mouth. The infection can be seen since its several meters long. For dogs, the medication prescribed is known as praziquantel which is given orally or by injection. The medicine causes the tapeworm to dissolve within the intestine. In humans, children are the most affected. In humans, it can be fatal (Jenkins, 2017). Different types of dog tapeworms behave differently in humans. The common Dipylidium caninum can cause liver failure. Therefore, any symptoms related to vomiting, fever, and occasional constipation, humans are advised to seek medical care immediately.

Prevention of tapeworms in dogs is to control fleas on the pets including indoors and outdoors. Additionally, let the veterinarian treat the dog for any tapeworms. Pet owners are advised to keep the pet clean especially after visiting the park or public areas. Fecal matter should always be buried or cleaned up. As for humans, children should not be allowed to play with fecal matter. This means that soil or ground that has come in contact with fecal matter should not be introduced to children.



Bowman, D. D., Montgomery, S. P., Zajac, A. M., Eberhard, M. L., & Kazacos, K. R. (2010). Hookworms of dogs and cats as agents of cutaneous larva migrans. Trends in Parasitology26(4), 162-167.

CDC. (2018). Hookworms. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from

Jiang, P., Zhang, X., Liu, R. D., Wang, Z. Q., & Cui, J. (2017). A human case of zoonotic dog Tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum (Eucestoda: Dilepidiidae), in China. The Korean journal of Parasitology55(1), 61.

Jenkins, E. (2017). If Your Pet Has Tapeworms, It May Kill You. The Conversations. Retrieved from