Parasites too cause the scooting. Scooting is an anal sac disease. First, let’s understand what scooting is in detail. This is the dragging of the anus with the hind limbs in an extended state. Parasites causing irritation in the anus regions lead to such type of actions in animals like dogs.

However, one should not be under the impression that it is the parasite that alone causes such scooting in case of dogs.  There are many occasions in which the dog may have the scooting without any parasite based etiological agent.  For example, the anal gland infections, tumors at the anus and injuries near the anal regions also may lead to such type of dragging of anus region, frequently by the affected dogs.

Flea bite allergy often causes irritation at the anus region and the animal may try to bite the anus region and the irritations due to these factors lead to the final dragging of anus region on the ground. Cestodiasis in dogs is the condition caused by tapeworms.

Doesn’t this make you a little scared

In such occasions, if the animal is not treated in time, the animal may be seen exhibiting the scooting activities.  Tapeworm segments passed in the stool create crawling like activities near the anus.

Such crawling activities of the tapeworm segments lead to severe itching at these regions. Hence, to make relief from this type of constant irritation, the animal starts pressing the anus region on the ground first and then tries to drag it on the ground with the typical extension of rear limbs.

Usually, there is a packet of eggs when the fecal sample is examined by a microscope. However, the flotation technique leads to breakage of these packets to burst and hence, diagnosis is difficult on such occasions. Scooting dogs need to be examined to rule out tapeworm segments, which look like rice like pieces.

These segments are white in color and turn yellow when taken from the body.  Tapeworms themselves may be seen in the motion or near anus below the tail regions.  Consult your veterinarian for specific cures for this.

Parasites and Dog Parks

Sometimes when I see the results of a scientific study, I can’t help but think, “That’s interesting, but how relevant is it to my life?” That was not the case when I ran across “Prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium species in dog park attending dogs compared to non-dog park attending dogs in one region of Colorado.”

The researchers are from Colorado State University (CSU), and there are two big dog parks within a couple of miles of campus, both of which my dog regularly attends; so I read this paper with an extra degree of interest.

The scientists collected feces from and surveyed the owners of 129 dogs that belonged to students or staff from CSU.  Overall, the prevalence of all gastrointestinal parasites in the 129 dogs was 7 percent. These results are not too surprising.

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Interestingly, no correlation was found between dog park attendance and clinical signs associated with gastrointestinal parasitism. This can probably be explained by the fact that a healthy adult dog’s immune system is often able to control Giardia and Cryptosporidium infections to the point where no symptoms develop. Also, the study’s sample size was not very large. It is possible that a larger study that is more representative of the general population could have different results in this regard.

The take-home message from this research is this:

Taking your dog to the dog park isn’t bad but be careful.  You may need to put extra emphasis on your gastrointestinal parasite control program.

Many heartworm preventatives and broad-spectrum dewormers do a good job of controlling hookworm, roundworm, and sometimes whipworm infestations, but they are ineffective against other types of parasites, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Fecal examinations are not foolproof either, which is why I typically recommend a combination of fecal testing.

Even more importantly, if your dog develops symptoms consistent with gastrointestinal parasitism, make sure that your veterinarian knows.  Also, make them aware if your dog attends a dog park.  Diagnosing a Giardia or Cryptosporidium infection is not always easy. Your veterinarian will need to get an idea of your dog’s individual risk factors. They will decide which diagnostic tests are most likely to bear fruit.

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