Dog Worms and Parasites
Dogs sometimes suffer from several internal infections with parasites. Two of the most widely spread worms are the roundworms and the tapeworms. Puppies are more likely to be infected with roundworms. A big number of fleas can pose a high risk for dogs when they have tapeworms.
While roundworms and tapeworms can be easily seen, other types of worms require the help of a microscope to be observed. When your dog has problems like weight loss because of the tapeworms, the adult worms can sometimes be observed in the dog’s stool.
Identifying the types of intestinal parasites is essential because different kinds of worms react to different medication. Thus if you suspect that your dog has intestinal parasites, you have to ask your vet to check your dog’s stool to find out if your suspicions are real. A stool test is usually done at least once a year by the vets.
The most distinct symptoms of worm infections are diarrhea, sometimes with blood in the stool, weight loss, dry hair – even with daily grooming, piteous appearance, throwing up – sometimes with worms located in the vomit.
Some worm eggs or larvae are dormant in the dogs body and become active when triggered by external factors. For instance, roundworms are dormant in pregnant dogs and they infest the newborn puppies.
Roundworms These worms are mostly found within the intestines of puppies. They affect their growth and make them have a potbelly appearance. Roundworms are usually observed in stool or heave, but a severe infestation can lead to the puppy’s death by intestinal blockage.
The length of the roundworm does not exceed seven inches and the females can lay up to 200 thousand eggs daily. The eggs can survive for years in the ground because of their hard shell.
When dogs swallow infected soil they get infected with the roundworms eggs. Once the eggs develop, the larvae are carried to the lungs. In puppies the larva finds its way all the way up to the windpipe. When the larva reaches back within the intestine, it develops to the adult stage.
There is no way to prevent the new born puppies from becoming infected if their mother has the roundworms. Case to case treatment can be suggested by the vet even though there is medication that can be bought without a prescription. As with any medication, the drugs should be given according to the vet’s advice and the proper dosage should be supplied because an overdose might be dangerous for the dog.
Hookworms Like in the case of the roundworms, the hookworms can be ‘acquired’ by your dog if in contact with infested soil. The hookworms are tiny, thin worms that suck blood from the walls of the small intestine. While in the small intestine, the hookworms grow to being adults. Puppies can also get the hookworms through the uterus or while being fed by the mother who is infested.
While severe hookworm infestation can end a puppy’s life, for the adult dog a constant hookworm contamination may not pose a big problem. Signs of being infected with these worms are weight loss, anemia, diarrhea as well as progressive weakness. A correct diagnosis is given only after observing the feces for eggs under the microscope.
Tapeworms The hunting dogs, or any dog for that matter, that swallows insects as well as dogs that eat animals, birds or plants infected with tapeworms are exposed to being infected with these worms too. The type of worm lives in the intestine and is discarded through the dog’s feces. The tapeworms are discarded in segments that start traveling immediately after being eliminated. They resemble dried grain rice and can be observed both in the hair around the anus and in the dog’s feces. This infection can only be cured with prescribed drugs.
Whipworms The adult whipworm look like pieces of thread having one end enlarged. They live in the cecum , in the first part of the dog’s large intestine. Because infestation is usually light, multiple checks are necessary for a correct diagnosis and a proper treatment. Observing feces for the first time might not expose any whipworm eggs.
Avoiding Dog Worms
Some of the worms that affect dogs can also infest people. To avoid both human and dog contamination with different types of worms, measures should be taken to eliminate the worms.
Some of these steps are cleaning the dog stools as often as possible, applying suitable vermicides as directed by the vet, as well as frequent stool tests especially if the dog was infested at least once. Medication taken to prevent different types of worms including heartworm drugs should not be taken together unless the vet says so.
Clean after your dog when you take him for a walk in the park or around your house. If all the owners clean after their dogs then the risk of being contaminated is drastically reduced. Healthy dogs are usually less exposed to worm infections. However regular check ups should be regularly performed in order to determine the existence of any type of worm.