This morning I found a small, white moving maggot in my dog's poo. He had only just gone and I went to clear it up straight away so it was not laying for more than five minutes.
What could it be?
Carol Davies, by email
Steve Leonard, TV vet, advises...
From the sounds of things it seems that what she has found is a worm - if it was short fat and ribbed (looking like a maggot) it's most likely it was a tapeworm.
Tapeworm are picked up from accidentally ingesting fleas or scavenging on dead carcasses that they come across on a walk. Once inside the dog they develop into the adult form of the worm feeding in the dog's gut and laying eggs wrapped up in segments. These segments are visible to the naked eye and look like grains of rice. Whole worms or longer sections of worms can also be passed out and it may be this is what you have seen. Because of the relationship with fleas it is very important to check for them by looking for flea dirt (black specs in the coat that turn pink or red when brushed out onto wet paper). By eliminating the fleas you will reduce the chance of re-infection.
However, there is no tablet or injection that will prevent dogs picking up tapeworms from scavenging so we have to concentrate on regular treatment. If your dog regularly picks up stuff you should worm your pet more frequently. Once monthly should be sufficient in most cases as it stops the worms completing their full lifecycle and seeding the environment with more eggs. For more information, visit www.itsajungle.co.uk