The question we're exploring today is are you currently controlling or treating parasites?
You might wonder is there a difference? And why should you care to know it?
The reality is there is a clear distinction between parasite treatment and parasite control! And if your intention is to implement the most effective natural care for your dog then you will want to understand the difference, so that you can know which program to implement at certain times for your dog.
Let's first look at the parasite itself. We have been taught to almost shun and dread their existence... In fact, parasites are most commonly viewed not simply as a nuisance to tolerate, but as an enemy to fear and annihilate.
Is this view necessary?
Does nature offer suggestions and solutions for parasite control?
What if you could shift your perspective of parasites and see them as providing a service and being a messenger of concern?
Ultimately, parasites are Nature’s “garbage men”… they are scavengers, drawn and attracted to hosts that have a desirable terrain and environment for them to live and thrive in or on.
That means that if your dog has an abundance of parasites, it’s an alarm or signal that the homeostasis of his or her body or the external environment needs support and attention. Essentially they have internal “garbage” or are a walking environment that is welcoming and comfortable for the parasite to live.
It can also be a reflection of the external environment and conditions that your dog is exposed to as well. If your dog consumes fecal matter or other items that contain eggs of parasites, your dog's risk of experiencing higher parasite loads will be increased.
As we are aware, the most common parasite treatment for the average dog owner consists of taking a fecal test into your veterinarian and treating the dog with a prescribed chemical dewormer if the fecal egg count is positive or elevated.
Control versus Treatment
According to ‘Principles of Veterinary Parasitology’ by Dennis Jacobs and Mark Fox:
“Treatment is a short-term measure aimed at producing an immediate impact on the parasite population. The intended benefit could be alleviation of suffering, enhancement of productivity or prevention of further parasite replication. Additional supportive therapy is often given to help repair damage and restore health.”
They also later clarify that:
“Although interrelated and often combined treatment and control are distinct and separate concepts.”
I want to note that this reference was written by traditional, allopathic veterinarians on the overall principles of parasitology… Here are additional excerpts from this reference:
“Experience has shown that treatments rarely yield longer-term benefits if given in a haphazard or an arbitrary way. On the other hand, over-reliance on routine treatments can give diminishing returns over time as parasite strains become resistant to the chemicals used.”
The veterinarians that wrote this book had a clear understanding of the difference between control and treatment.
“Control has a longer-term perspective and is aimed at preventing future infection and minimizing disease risk. It implies the development and implementation plan…Non-chemical approaches can augment reduce or even replace drug usage.”
Yet, most dog owners don’t have a consistent plan for control and when a treatment plan is needed, there is typically a complete lack of acknowledgment of the microbiome balancing and recovery support the dog needs to regain health internally. Therefore contributing to the ideal thriving environment to breed and host more parasites.
Utilizing a natural parasite control plan is not a guarantee or continuous treatment of a problem that may or may not exist. If at some point your dog needs a chemical parasite treatment, you do it by understanding the risks, and also being prepared to support the digestive system and the body’s cleansing and detoxing systems with the support they need to both clear the negative effects of the chemical dewormer and the deceased parasites as well.
In conclusion, with this breakdown of the difference between control and treatment which are you currently implementing?
As mentioned a majority of dog owners are implementing parasite treatment protocols that are putting their dog's health at risk and diminishing the likelihood of results and efficacy every time they are used.