Natural Parasite Prevention/Treatment

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Here are some things that you can occasionally put into the diet to prevent parasites taking up residence in your dog's digestive system.

The raw diet, when you make a mush of meat and vegetables, provides a nice "medium" to add these ingredients.

The raw diet itself goes a long way in discouraging parasites because of the lack of grains (which turn to sugar, which encourages parasites) and the presence of enzymes which are caustic to parasites. The raw diet enhances immune system functioning, and a healthy immune system can be an effective weapon against parasites in and of itself.

Prevention - regular dietary components

1. Fresh or kyolic garlic - has natural antibiotic properties, along with anti-worm properties. Only 1 clove of garlic per day, or 1 capsule of kyolic garlic.

2. Parsley tea - put one bunch of fresh parsley in one quart purified water, bring to a boil, simmer for 3 minutes. Let cool. Throw out parsley. Give one tablespoon of parsley water per day, or several times per week (Make ice cubes for easy storage). Warming up the ice cube and mixing into the food is a nice way to bring refrigerated raw food up to room temperature.

3. Fresh ground Pumpkin seeds - effective against tape worm. Best to grind the seeds right before serving - 1 tsp to 1 TBSP per day.

4. Cod Liver Oil - high in vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency can allow infestation in an otherwise immune-healthy animal. 1/2 - 1 tsp daily. Usually, raw fed dogs don't have a vitamin A deficiency.

5. Roughage - in the raw diet, we feed a combo of veggies pulped very finely so that the dog can absorb the nutrition from the vegetables. But, we can also coarsely chop hard vegetables like carrots and turnips (the size of peas) and mix that in with the food. Because these hard vegetables are left large, they won't be digested, therefore, no calories or nutrition will be absorbed, so they won't upset the nutritional and pH balance in the food. However, left in large dice, they act like a broom, helping to scrape the parasite-housing mucus off of the intestinal walls. You will see the carrots out in the yard in basically the same size and shape as they went in, hopefully, with some mucus, occasionally.

This is also an effective weight-loss trick, adding safe but indigestible bulk into the food so the dog feels like it has eaten more, while not allowing it to absorb the calories in the large-dice vegetables. Putting in some coarse vegetables also makes the whole texture of the food chunkier, so it's easier to disguise supplement capsules. Not having to open up your capsules helps to make the food taste better.

If the dog objects to large dice vegetables, start by adding carrots (they're sweet, so most dogs will accept them) in very small dice. Increase the size of the dice over time, and start adding other veggies.

6. Wheat germ oil - a tapeworm inhibitor. 1/2 - 1 tsp per day.

7. Supplemental enzymes - enzymes are caustic to the outer coating of worms, and make them weaken and give up their hold in the intestines. One dried (organic, unsulphured) fig per day provides ficin and is a tasty treat. Papain is found in papaya, often found in digestive enzyme complexes. Bromelain takes a machete to the outer "skin" of worms (including e-coli bacteria). Apple Cider Vinegar (organic, with the mother) is also a good source of enzymes and is slightly anti-bacterial - 1 tsp - 1 TBSP per day.

8. Aloe Vera gel - 1 tsp to 1 TBSP several times per week. Gently sloughs the parasites off of the intestinal walls. Be careful with dosage - can cause diarrhea.

9. Probiotics, or "intestinally friendly bacteria" eat the outer coating of the worm. Get non-dairy Acidophilus/Bifidus, add 1 capsule to each meal. The value of probiotics extends well beyond parasite prevention - it aids digestion and absorption of nutrients in general. Probiotics are found naturally in Kefir, which is a fermented milk product that contains over 20 different active cultures, and certain brands of organic plain yogurt provide up to 6 or 7 different cultures. Average national brand plain yogurt in the dairy case is virtually worthless and provides only minimal nutrition. Check the packaging for the kinds of active cultures. Give culture-rich foods 15 - 30 minutes prior to meals.

10. MSM - in addition to helping with osteo and inflammatory conditions, MSM is natural sulphur, which is unfriendly to parasites.

11. Fasting - in the raw diet, many fast one day per week. Fasting weakens the parasites.

Treatment

A word of caution. Do not try ALL of the things listed below at once! That would be very taxing to the body and you may cause liver damage. But you could try ONE thing at a time, for 1 week, ease back into "prevention" mode above for 3 weeks, and have another fecal check to determine if your treatment has worked.
Of course, doing any of the below under the direction of a holistic/homeopathic vet would be best.

In addition to the "prevention" substances above, choose ONE for only a week at a time:

1. Black Walnut hulls (1 capsule per day) or Black Walnut Hull tincture (1 drop per day)

2. Wormwood (1 capsule per day) or Wormwood Tincture (1 drop per day). That's Artemesia Absinthum

3. Ground cloves - 1 capsule per day. Must get it at a reliable health food store/mail order to ensure freshness.

4. Grapefruit Seed Extract, or Agrisept - a natural antibacterial. One drop per day. (you can make a dilution of 10 drops to 1 pint of purified water, and give 1 tsp. of this dilution on a daily basis as prevention, also).

5. Homeopathic remedies - Cina (wormseed) and Filis Mas (male fern)

6. Herbal wormers - avoid any with onion (heinz body poisioning).

7. Fasting - a broth fast for one day helps weaken worms. Give a few senna pods as a laxative during a fast to completely clean out the intestines. In the next full meal, add a lot of the coarsely chopped vegetables to scrape any mucus from the intestine walls - mucus provides a safe "house" for parasites.

8. Yucca shigedera - powdered yucca root is a natural cleansing agent, containing saponins (soap precursors). It is very effective in treating coccidia. Add tsp. to meals, gradually increasing to up to 1 TBSP per day for 1-2 weeks. Be careful, as it is a soap-like substance and can cause stomach cramps. Yucca is also an anti-inflammatory and helps with arthritis.

Worms seem to like foods like fats, sugars (which means grains and fruits), eggs, and whole milk, so make sure to exclude these foods when trying to get rid of worms. Reintroduce eggs, fats and fruits after you are sure the worms are gone for good. It is best to worm your animals wait 3 weeks and test for worms again, as some worms may hang on. The animals can then be treated again if need be.

Juliette Di Baircly Levy likes to point out that low levels of worm infestation (showing up positive in the fecal exam, but not resulting in any symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting) SHOULD be treated by herbal and nutritional means as gently as possible, but that we shouldn't get tremendously upset about them. It is far worse to "bomb" the system with conventional treatments and toxic chemicals (and any of the "treatments" listed above can become toxic if given in large dosages or for too long), than to just go along with a low concentration, provided there are no symptoms. So, if you have only a low-level infestation, time is on your side. You can try one treatment, rest, retest, and then repeat the cycle as needed, to get rid of worms safely and effectively.

Most animals get worms at some point in their lives. The key to successfully getting rid of worms and preventing their return is a healthy immune system.
 
*The information in this article came from several mailing lists, websites and books. It is always recommended to do your own research and consult your vet before making any changes to your dog's diet*

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