When you know that your dog is infected with worms, it does not give you a good feeling. Neither would we want the dog ever get infected. It is essential to understand the symptoms, risks, and treatments involved to get rid of various types of worms in dogs if you own a dog. According to experts, dogs may face significant health issues if they are not treated on time.
The early symptoms are like any other illness, and it may take between two to four weeks to reveal the actual symptoms. As a dog owner, one must recognize the symptoms of dog worms which are as follows:
- Abdominal pain
- Pot-bellied appearance
- Intestinal blockage or pneumonia
- Blood in the stool (either bright red or darker purple)
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Deficiencies in nutrition and anemia
- Weight loss
- Changes to the dog’s coat (e.g., dandruff, loss of sheen or luster)
Usually, the worms do not lead to lethal illness. The damage to puppies may be significant, and there may be apparent symptoms that pet owners can quickly identify. Various types of worms in dogs may have different symptoms, and one must keep a proper watch. If such symptoms are observed in your dog, you must consult a reliable veterinary doctor for appropriate treatment.
TYPES OF WORMS
There are five major types of worms found in dogs that are as mentioned below:
The most common internal worms in dogs are Roundworms that can grow many inches long. The two types are Toxascaris Leonina and Toxocara canis (T. Canis), which is mostly found in puppies and can be passed on to humans as well.
A lot of puppies are born with roundworms passed onto them from their mother’s milk. Dogs also get infected by getting in contact with contaminated feces. A raccoon roundworm known as Baylisascaris procyonis seen in North America can cause infection in dogs. If dogs ingest infected eggs or hosts like rabbits, rodents, and birds, they are very likely to get infected. The B. Procyonis eggs can spread from eggs to humans, and so dogs must be properly diagnosed for the infection, and suitable treatment must be applied at the earliest.
Tapeworms can be found in the intestines of dogs that spread because of consuming infected fleas or wild animals having tapeworms. When a dog eats the infected flea, the tapeworm egg hatches and sticks to the intestine wall. The most common type of these dog worms found in the US is Dipylidium caninum that is transmitted from fleas to dogs. The infected dog may transfer tapeworms in their stool that is long, flat, and white resembling rice pieces. Infected dogs may scoot their bottoms on the ground, and if your dog is found doing the same, it is advised to carry a stool sample to a veterinarian for further checks. If the dog is found infected, proper treatment like oral or injection must be provided. Also, any fleas in your house should be ridden away.
Hookworms are found in the intestines of dogs that cause anemia and can be lethal for puppies if they are not treated. There are many kinds of hookworms. Although these worms in dogs are tiny, they can suck away a tremendous amount of blood from the intestine lining.
Hookworms infect when the dogs eat hookworm larvae, or it can be passed from the mother’s milk to the puppy, known as Ancylostoma caninum. An infected dog can transfer many eggs in the stool, hatching, and staying alive for many months. A dog may eat contaminated soil, lick it from its paws, or sniff from feces and can infect humans as well.
Hookworms can be detected with what is known as fecal floatation by mixing the stool with a solution. It causes the eggs to float. Infected dogs are treated first for the adult worms and then to eliminate the newly born.
Whipworms infect dogs by ingesting infected feces, water, soil, animal flesh, or food. It is found in the colon and caecum from where their eggs are transferred into the wastes of dogs. The eggs sustain for years in a humid and warm environment, and that is why it is essential to emphasize general health and sanitation of the dogs.
In mild cases, it is challenging to detect whipworms. However, they may cause diarrhea, weight loss, inflammation, and anemia in some cases. A veterinarian may prescribe a three months treatment for these types of worms in dogs after examining a fecal sample for whipworms. The eggs are not easy to search, and repeat checks may require blood to be found in the stool.
The most troublesome and avoidable worms in dogs are Heartworms. They spread through mosquitoes, which are difficult to avoid, so regular preventatives are recommended for the dog’s safety. Heartworms are found in the heart and can cause heart disease, lung infection, and may lead to death if not treated.
Prevention is the best means as the treatment is lengthy, costly, and may have side effects. Also, dogs may have to undergo confinement and follow exercise restrictions that can be hard on them.
Tapeworms can be detected in a dog’s stool; however, other intestinal worms in dogs can be located with the microscopic check for eggs in the stool. If such symptoms are found in the dog, the veterinarian may ask for a stool sample and detect the worm accordingly. It is advisable to take a stool sample during the dog’s annual check-up even if there are no symptoms.
Heartworms can be spotted by blood tests and, in some cases, by ultrasound, echocardiogram, or radiograph. According to experts, in the early stages, there are few or no symptoms, and therefore it is advised to carry out yearly check-ups.
Dogs must be given routine de-worming treatment. Puppies are at higher risk due to high infection levels. The various means of medication are tablets, spot-on treatments, or injection. Efficient procedures for flea prevention may help in avoiding the contracting of tapeworms. Special treatment may be required to prevent mothers from passing dog worms to puppies, as de-worming may not be effective in such cases.
One dose of treatment may not be enough to remove the worms. New larvae can get in the intestine even after de-worming in cases of Toxocara Canis roundworms and hookworms. It is advisable to contact a veterinarian for any treatment for your dog.
Also Read: Beware Of Symptoms Of Worms In Cats
WHEN SHOULD I WORM MY DOG?
Puppies require regular worming until they are six months old, while grown-up dogs require worming four times a year. Female dogs, when pregnant or feeding pups need worming. It is essential to clean up after the dog and remove the feces from places like the garden as there are chances of eggs building up.
WHAT IS THE COST OF WORMING MY DOG?
The cost usually varies depending upon the treatment. However, common worming may cost around fifty pounds yearly, which is an economical way of keeping your dog safe and healthy.
We have seen in detail the different types of worms in dogs, the symptoms, their diagnosis, and treatments. In short, we can say that regular testing for parasites, prevention, flea control, and proper hygiene are the best ways to avoid serious results caused to dogs by the worms. For more information, visit Petsnurturing.