Dog Dosing

Regular dog treatment is the most reliable and the most simple (and probably the cheapest) measure to implement. Dog treatments and dosing should be the basis of any on-farm control programme.

Drugs Available

All dogs resident on farm should be treated on a monthly basis with cestocidal (tapeworm) drugs containing the ingredient Praziquantel which is a highly effective drug for killing tapeworms.  These should not cost more than $1.00 or $2.00 each (as opposed to All-Wormers which you can expect to pay significantly more for).

The drugs, usually in tablet form, can be administered orally or given in dog food.

Praziquantel drugs come in two forms:

  1. Straight Praziquantel tablets which target tapeworms and include Droncit and Wormicide
  2. There are also “all wormer” tablets such as Drontal Allwormer, Endogard, Milbemax and Popantel F Allwormer. All wormers target roundworm, hookworms, whipworms plus tapeworms.

For the best advice on tapeworm treatments, consult your veterinarian or animal health advisor.

Dose Rate

Droncit tablets contain 50 mg of Praziquantel. This allows one tablet per 20kg of dog body weight.

Note some Droncit tablets come foil wrapped showing 1 Tablet per 10kg of dog body weight, however these are for countries that have not yet got rid of Hydatids.  For New Zealand you can safely allow one tablet per 20kg.

Wormicide tablets contain 100mg of Praziquantel so can be used at one tablet per 40kg of dog body weight.

  • All Wormers have a different rate due to other drugs that are part of them.
  • Check package labelling to confirm the amount of Praziquantel in tablet.
  • Under dosing will NOT kill the tapeworms in the dog’s intestine.

Why monthly dosing is recommended

Dogs need to be dosed monthly to ensure no sheep measles tapeworms reach maturity. Why? …

All Wormer treatment three monthly/quarterly = 90 days

Sheep Measles tapeworm matures = 35 days

This leaves a 55 day window where dogs could be shedding eggs.

Let’s do the maths … If you were JUST to use an All Wormer, this means:

55 days x 4 times a year (quarterly All Wormer) = 220 unprotected days per dog per year!  Also remember that infected dogs may pass thousands of eggs onto your pasture!

Number of dogs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Unprotected days 220 440 660 880 1100 1320 1540 1760 1980 2200
Protected days 145 290 435 580 725 870 1015 1160 1305 1450

So, a combination of an All Wormer and straight Praziquantel tablets provides maximum protection.

Month 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

AW = All wormer P = Praziquantel

Other Considerations

  • Any dogs NOT on a regular dosing regime that are accidentally exposed to untreated sheep meat, should be treated approximately 48 or 72 hours later with a Praziquantel drug.
  • ALL NEW dogs should be dosed at least 48 hours before coming onto the property. If NEW dogs enter the property without being treated beforehand, they should be dosed, quarantined for 3-4 days and all faeces destroyed. (Treatment kills any T.ovis worms present in approximately 10 hours but does not kill T.ovis eggs left in the intestine)
  • A suggestion is for ONE person to be made responsible for treatment of ALL dogs on the farm, rather than relying on each staff member to treat their dogs.
  • In any on-farm dosing programme ALL pet dogs also need to be included. Often they have free run of the property and have access to household scraps. Pet dogs are commonly found to be the source of sheep measles, so it’s imperative they are part of the dosing programme.

Safe Dog Feeding

All sheep (and goat) meat need to be treated before feeding to dogs.

Sheep meat treatment can be done in one of two ways:

1. Freezing Sheep Meat

When freezing, ice crystals form, rupturing the cell walls of any sheep measles cysts present, destroying them and making them no longer infective to dogs.

For best results, follow these rules:

  • Ensure core temperature of meat is down to -10°C or colder for at least 10 days
    • If killing a number of sheep for dog food at one time it may take longer than 10 days to get down to -10° This depends on the size and efficiency of your freezer.
    • Have a well-defined meat rotation & identification system to ensure that only correct meat is fed (-10ºC for 10 days.).
    • Meat should be placed in boxes or bags and dated.
    • All staff should be aware of how this system functions.
  • A dog tucker killing timetable should exist to ensure that adequate supplies of treated food are on hand at all times, including sufficient freezer space for all dogs on the farm
  • Freezer temperature should be checked regularly with a thermometer to ensure it is -10ºC or colder.
    • If the temperature is found to be warmer than -10ºC, in addition to immediately fixing the freezer, all dogs should be treated with a suitable Praziquantel drug to kill any viable T. ovis worms that may have developed.
    • Freezers should be defrosted regularly as a build-up of ice results in less effective freezer operation and increased power costs

2. Cooking sheep meat

Where cooking is the preferred treatment option follow these rules:

  • Cook thoroughly by heating to a core temperature of +72°C or more
    • Cooking is complete when meat colour changes to brown. Tinges of red indicate inadequate treatment
    • Cut meat into pieces prior to cooking to enable heat penetration
  • Do this in a dog-proof area to prevent dogs getting access to scraps

3. Cutting up sheep meat

  • The cutting up of all sheep or goat meat should be carried out in a dog proof area to prevent dogs getting access to waste or offcuts.
    • For both bought & home-killed meat
    • For both dog food or human consumption.

4. Offal treatment (If feeding to dogs)

Offal from home kill must be treated before feeding to dogs by:

  1. Boiling for a minimum of 30 minutes or:
  2. Freezing to -10°C, or colder, and maintained at that temperature for at least 10 days

5. Alternative Dog Foods

  • All properties, should carry alternative dog foods in case of an emergency, such as freezer failure.
  • These include commercially prepared foods that are generally safe for dogs as they have been cooked during the manufacturing process. For instance, dog sausage, dog biscuits, dry meal and tinned foods.

6. Safe meats that can be fed raw

  • Beef / Cattle Meat should be cooked thoroughly or frozen at -10°C for 10 days in order to reduce the spread of Neospora
  • Safe Meats however include that from horses, and rabbits
  • Possum meat is acceptable only if living in a TB FREE zone

Dog Feeding – Hints

Dogs should be fed regularly and amounts fed should be adequate for the work the dog is required to carry out. Basic recommendations include:

  • All dogs should be fed at least once per day and have access to fresh clean water. Hungry dogs tend to scavenge.
  • Dogs doing hard work and in cold weather require extra food.
  • Bitches in whelp or lactating, require extra food.
  • Make family members and staff aware that they should not feed raw household meat scraps to dogs.
  • Prevent dogs from having access to cat food if cats are fed raw sheep meat or offal.
  • Sheep meat purchased from butcher shops, meat plants or abattoirs cannot be guaranteed free from C.ovis (Sheep Measle) cysts and must always be frozen or cooked before feeding to dogs.

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