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Diatomaceous Earth and Soil Whipworms

Whipworms could be crawling through your yard looking for a new host this very second. These parasitic creatures cause a slew of health problems -- including diarrhoea -- in both people and pets. If left untreated, whipworms are fatal. Diatomaceous earth will help eliminate the whipworms and keep your family and furry friends safe.

Whipworms

Growing up to 3 inches in length, the shells of whipworms are extremely tough and the parasites can live in soil for years. Whipworms are a type of roundworm that attach themselves to the intestinal lining and are common problems in domesticated animals such as dogs. When an infected dog defecates in your yard, the whipworm eggs pass through the faeces and into the soil where they can infect a new host. Before treating the soil, take the infected animal to the veterinarian so he can prescribe whipworm treatment for your pet. If you do not get rid of the whipworms in the animal, the parasite reinfects the soil every time the dog defecates in the yard.

Diatomaceous Earth

Sometimes called DE, diatomaceous earth is a soft sedimentary rock made from the fossilised remains of hard-shell algae called diatoms. Crumbled into a fine powder, the fossilised rock has various uses including natural pest control. Containing tiny, sharp edges, diatomaceous earth is not harmful to people or pets, but will rip and tear at the body of parasites and insect larvae as they crawl through the soil and grass. Furthermore, giving your dog a low dose of diatomaceous earth is a homemade treatment for parasites such as whipworm, roundworm and hookworm (but always consult with your veterinarian first). DE is available for purchase at garden centres and home improvement stores.

Treatment

Before applying or given any home remedy treatments to pets, always consult with your pet's veterinarian. Diatomaceous earth is available in various grades such as pool-filter grade and food-grade. When using it in or around your home to treat parasites and pests, use only the food-grade diatomaceous earth. To deal with parasites in your yard, sprinkle diatomaceous earth over the whole lawn. Wear a pair of rubber gloves and a dust mask. Even though DE is not toxic, it can cause throat, nose and eye irritation if inhaled or comes in contact with your eyes. Use a small garden shovel to distribute the diatomaceous earth over the yard.

Prevention

To prevent whipworm infestations, keep your pet up to date on all his shots, as well as regular veterinarian visits and fecal exams. Regularly remove animal waste in the yard by scooping the faeces off the ground with a "pooper scooper" and placing the faeces inside a plastic garbage bag. If you keep dogs in kennels, thoroughly clean and sanitise the kennel with a diluted bleach mixture at least once a week. Furthermore, practice good hygiene by always washing your hands with soap and water before touching your mouth or eating food.

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About the Author

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.