This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
The Kidney-worm (gigas), Professor Owens says, "inhabits the kidney of che dog, as well as that of the wolf, otter, raccoon, glut ton, horse, and bull, (see fig. 50). It is generally of a dark blood-color, which seems to be owing to the nature of its food, which is derived from the vessels of the kidney, as, when suppuration has taken place round it, the worm has been found of a whitish hue. In the human kidney it has been known to attain the length of three feet, with a diameter of half an inch. The head (a), is obtuse, the mouth orbicular and surrounded by six hemispherical papillae (A); the body is slightly impressed with a circular striae, and with two longitudinal impressions. The tail is incurved in the male and terminated by a dilated point or bursa (b), from the base of which the single intromittent spiculum (6), projects. In the female, the caudal extremity is less attenuated and straighter, with the anus (c), a little below the apex." I have been thus particular in inserting descriptions of these worms, because their study is becoming more general, and they present a large field for the microscopic inquirer.
Indications of worms in the dog should be carefully noted and anxiously looked for, if the health of the animal is of any importance. They are, an unhealthy appearance of the coat, the hair looking dead and not lying smoothly and evenly. The appetite is ravenous in proportion to the condition, which is generally low, though worms may exist for months without interfering much with the presence of fat. After a time, however, the fat of the body is absorbed, and the muscles, without being firm and promi aent, are marked with Intervening lines from its absence. The faeces are passed frequently and in small quantities, the separate passage of a small quantity of mucus each time being particularly indicative of worms. The spirits are dull, the nose hot and dry, and the breath offensive. These signs are only present to the full extent when the dog is troubled with tape-worm, or with the round-worm in large quantities; the maw-worm being only slightly injurious in comparison with the others, and rarely being attended with all of these symptoms. The kidney-worm has no effect upon the intestinal secretions, but it produces bloody urine, more or less mixed with pus. Still, as this is often present without the worm, it is impossible to predict its existence during life, with any degree of certainty.
When worms are suspected, in order to distinguish the species, it is better to give a dose of calomel and jalap (16), unless the dog is very weakly, when the areca nut may be sustituted (65). Then, by watching the feces, the particular worm may be detected and the treatment altered accordingly.
Fig. 60. - KIDNEY-WORM.
The expulsion of the worms is the proper method of treatment in all cases, taking care afterwards to prevent their regeneration, by strengthening the system, and by occasional doses of the medicine suited to remove the worm in question. All vermifuges act as poison to the worms themselves, or as mechanical irritants; the former including the bulk of these medicines, and the latter powdered glass and tin as well as cowhage. These poisons are all more or less injurious to the dog, and in spite of every precaution fatal results will occur after most of them; even the areca nut, innocent as it is said to be, has occasionally nearly destroyed valuable dogs . under careful superintendence.
The following is a list of remedies for the various worms: - For round and maw-worms: Betel nut (Nux areca). Stinking hellebore (HeUeborus foetidus). Indian pink (Spigelia Marylandica). Calomel (Hydrargyri chloridum). Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium). Santonine, the active principle of wormseed (Artemisia contra). Cowhage (Mucuna pruriens). Powdered tin and glass.
For tape-worm: Spirits of turpentine (Spiritus terebinthinae)
Konsso (Brayevz anthelmintica). Pomegranate bark (Puntca Gra-natum). Leaves and oil of male fern (Filix mat).
The areca nut was first recommended as a vermifuge by Major Besant, who had seen it used in India for that purpose. It has since been very generally adopted, and appears to answer the purpose remarkably well. It should be given every week or ten days, for six or seven times, if the round-worm is present; two or three doses occasionally given will suffice for the maw-worm. Six or eight hours afterwards, a dose of castor-oil should be administered. The dose of the freshly powdered areca nut is about two grains to every pound of the dog's weight. Thus a dog of 30 lbs. will take one drachm, or half an average nut Stinking hellebore is very innocent, and even useful in other ways. The dose for a 80-lb. dog is five or six grains mixed up with eight or ten of jalap, and formed into a bolus, to be given every five or six days. Indian pink is a very powerful vermifuge; but it also occasionally acts very prejudicially on the dog, and it must never be given without knowledge of the risk which is incurred.
I have myself used it in numberless instances without injury; but its employment has so frequently been followed by fatal results in other hands that I cannot do otherwise than caution my readers against it How, or why, this has been, I have never been able to ascertain; but, that it is so, I have no doubt whatever. If it is determined to use it, half an ounce of the drug, as purchased, should be infused in half a pint of boiling water; and of this infusion, after straining it, from a tablespoonful to two tablespoonfuls should be given to the dog, according to size, followed by a dose of oil. Calomel is a powerful expellant, but it also is attended with danger. The dose is from three to five grains, mixed with jalap. Wormwood may be given with advantage to young puppies, being mild in its operation. The dose is from ten to thirty grains, in syrup or honey. Santonine is an admirable remedy, when it can be procured in a pure state. The brown is the best, of which from one half to three grains is the dose, mixed with from five to fifteen grains of jalap, and given at intervals of a week. Cowhage, powdered tin, and glass, all act by their mechanical irritation, and may be given without the slightest fear. The first should be mixed with molasses, and a teaspoonful or two given occasionally.
The second and third are better mixed with butter, the dose being as much as can be heaped upon a twenty-five cent piece. Spirits of turpentine is without doubt the most efficacious of all worm medicines; but, if not given with care, is apt to upset the health of the dog, by irritating the mucous membrane of the alimentary canal, and of the kidneys also. I am satisfied, however, that it is not necessary to give it in its undiluted form, and that by mixing it with oil, its dangerous qualities are altogether suppressed. I have known young puppies, under two months of age, cleared of worms without the slightest injury, by giving them from three to ten drops, according to their size, in a teaspoonful of oil. The old plan was to tie up the turpentine in a piece of bladder, which is then to be given as a bolus; but this is either broken in the throat, causing suffocation by getting into the windpipe, or it is dissolved in the stomach, which is then irritated by the almost caustic nature of the turpentine. The ordinary dose given in this way is from half a drachm to half an ounce, the latter being only adapted to very strong and full-sized dogs.
Certainly it is very useful given in this way, if it does not irritate; but I should prefer the mixture with oil, though it is sometimes rejected from the stomach. The leaves and oil of the male fern are both very efficacious remedies, when obtained in a state of purity.