This section is from the book "A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear, And Feed Them", by Leslie Williams. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear And Feed Them.
In no case has modern progress in knowledge disclosed more fallacies, held formerly as firm beliefs, than where the internal parasites - which for our present purpose, this being only a popular manual, may be classed as tape-worms and round worms - of the dog are concerned. Only a few years ago, if a dog suffered from skin disease in any one of its several forms, "worms " were at once cited as the cause. Now we know - or rather, those among us know, who either have some understanding of canine anatomy and physiology or will take the word of the scientist for it - that worms cause nothing : they are not a cause, but an effect. They are a symptom of anaemia; and as skin trouble almost invariably accompanies any severe degree of anaemia in dogs, skin trouble and worms are usually found together. We cannot, therefore, cure dogs of harbouring worms by giving expellent doses, no matter how glowingly advertised and boomed, of the various irritant drugs which act as vermifuges. We can only by this means temporarily drive out the enemy, which is certain to return, because the conditions prevailing in an anaemic intestine suit it perfectly, and encourage its increase, whereas in the healthy intestine it more or less shares the fate of food on being digested, and is incapable of rapid or sustained increase.
The effect of an anaemic or vitiated condition of the blood-supply to the villi, or, in non-scientific language, digesting pores which exist all over the mucoid lining of the intestinal tract, is to prevent their throwing out those strong juices or digestive fluids which they normally produce. Their secretions are altered and weakened, and have no injurious effect on the parasites, which then increase rapidly. When, therefore, it becomes evident, by the appearance of short yellowish-white segments, generally about an inch long, and varying in breadth from a mere line to about a quarter of an inch, dropped about by a dog, that tape-worm exists; or it is seen by his vomiting them up or otherwise, that he has round worms, which somewhat resemble earth-worms, what we have to do is to alter that condition of the general health which allows these pests to exist. In brief, we have to treat the dog for anaemia, which subject has been already discussed. It is, of course, occasionally possible for a healthy, meat-fed dog to become accidentally infected by swallowing tape-worm ova, and in such a case a few of the parasites may be harboured for a considerable time, not increasing, but now and then making their presence manifest.
Infection is possible by the swallowing of fleas, which are intermediate hosts of tape-worm, or by eating the insides of rabbits, which usually swarm with these creatures, or, in the opinion of some authorities, by sniffing the ova up through the nasal passages and subsequently swallowing them. As, however, one cannot always be certain that the apparently healthy dog is not a trifle below par, it is always well to treat him with a course of iron, giving the powders or tonic pills advised for anaemia for a month, and at the expiration of that period, when the system is toned up so that the worms' position is almost untenable, and their expulsion will be final, one or two vermifuge doses may be given. All sorts of quack remedies have been praised and boomed as infallible, but many are exceedingly diastic, and some positively dangerous. Areca nut, so frequently advised, is a most violent irritant, actually poisonous in its effects on young puppies, and a very cruel remedy in all cases. Wormseed oil, an American preparation, possibly from one of the inul as, a family of plants known in English gardens, is sometimes an ingredient; also such highly unsuitable, inert, useless, or dangerous substances as sulphate of magnesia, salt, or cowhage, with strong doses of san-tonine, a drug that should never be given in unknown quantity.
A violent purgative action often accompanies these secret remedies, adding to their danger. The intelligent dog owner should know what he is giving, and to some extent understand its action; but in a country where quack, much-advertised medicines are largely given to children, I suppose it will be difficult to prevent their being also administered to dogs. In any case, no worm medicine whatever, of any sort or kind, other than an iron tonic, should be given to young puppies, no known drug possessing a stronger action than iron upon the parasites being safe for toy pups under three months old. After that age it is safe to give very small doses of oil of male-fern and absolutely minute ones of santonine. These are best combined in a capsule, in which form they can be given without distressing the patient, and a perfectly safe capsule after this formula is, among the Kanofelin remedies - which are not secret, but are compounded after recognised formulae, and equally suitable for dogs or children in the purity of their drugs and safety of their action.
If any of the popular advertised remedies are used for adults, experiment should be made at first with much smaller doses than are cited, and safety thus assured, for a microscopic dose will often act quite severely enough for the toy dog owner's purpose, and dogs are as variously sensitive to drug action as we ourselves.
In very young puppies the bringing up by the mouth of round worms is not at all unusual, especially when they are pups born of "kennel" parents, dogs crowded together in numbers, insufficiently fed (although possibly upon an excessive quantity of oatmeal and Indian corn meal), denied meat, and leading a completely unnatural life in every respect. It is rather a shock to an amateur when this occurs, but as a rule little anxiety need be felt, for if the puppy is properly fed upon small dry meals of a very digestible and nourishing nature, say two tablespoonfuls of good underdone rump-steak, or the same quantity of roast mutton, three times a day for a dog the size of a pug, and given a one-grain dose of iron with two of these meals, he will be pretty sure to grow out of his troubles. In any such case great attention must be paid to keeping up the strength of the patient, in order to tide him over the time when by reason of youth and his very tender little stomach, it is impossible to give him any stronger medicine with safety.
Extreme thinness and loss of coat are sometimes attributed to that wonderful power worms, in old-fashioned eyes, possessed. Both of these symptoms are those of an anaemic condition, as is foetor of the breath. Finally, the treatment of that over-rated bugbear in the way of diseases, "Worms," is easily summarised thus - Meat feeding; an iron tonic; a vermifuge after the tonic course, and not before.
After male-fern capsules it is quite unnecessary to give any aperient. Most inventors of "worm pills" and the like order castor oil to be given after their boluses, a terrible aggravation both to operator and patient.