Dogs can often suffer from parasite infestations. They are targeted by fleas, ticks, worms and other parasitic creatures. Infestations can cause discomfort, illness and in severe cases even death. It’s important to take preventative measures to protect your animal from parasites. If your dog does become infested with worms or other parasites there are treatments available that can help.
Worms in dogs are very common and sometimes there will be no symptoms to warn you of an infestation, so it is important to ensure that your dog undergoes regular health checks. Some varieties of worm infestations can be easily detected by evidence in the dogs stool.
Types of Worms in Dogs
There are quite a few different types of worms that dogs can become infested with. The most commonly occurring worms in dogs are roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, heartworm and tapeworm. There are two types of roundworms that occur often in dogs.
Roundworms are long and white and they look a bit like spaghetti. They may be seen in the vomit or in the stool of the dog.
Hookworms are very small thin worms that suck blood in the small intestine. Diagnosing hookworms in dogs involves examining the dogs stool under a microscope in order to identify eggs.
Adult whipworms look like minute pieces of thread that are larger at one end. They are not usually seen in the animals stool.
Heartworms usually enter animals body when they are injected by a mosquito. They are quite large and can block the passage of blood between the heart and the lungs. Diagnosis may involve a blood test, an ultrasound or another type of veterinary examination.
An entire tapeworm looks like it is made of brick like segments with a small head at one end. Diagnosis of these canine worms are usually made when tiny segments of the tapeworms are seen attached to the dog’s fur around the anus.
Symptoms of worms in dogs vary depending on the type of worm that is causing the infestation. Some symptoms are shared by all types of worm infestations and others indicate what type of worms a dog may have. Dogs who have worms may experience apathy and sluggishness this will cause the dog to be less active than usual. Worms in puppies can also cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Other things that signify that a dog has worms include drinking more water than usual, weight loss, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, persistent coughing and the presence of blood or mucous in stools. Dragging or scooting is common in dogs who are experiencing discomfort or itching.
Dogs who are at least eight weeks old can experience vomiting or diarrhoea if they have roundworm. The worms are usually visible in the vomit or stool. Puppies who are under eight weeks of age are in danger of dying from roundworm infestation. They will fail to develop in a healthy way. Dogs with worms of the roundworm variety will usually show no symptoms if they are over six months of age.
Specific symptoms of tapeworm in dogs include digestive symptoms such as gas and nausea, restlessness, abdominal pain and itching. Sometimes dogs with tapeworm exhibit no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
There are some simple steps you can take in order to prevent dog worms. Worms can often spread via larvae that is present in faeces, hygienic practices such as picking up and disposing of dog faeces immediately can help prevent infestations and stop the worms spreading from one dog to another. Another good prevention technique is to ensure that you dog does not eat faeces, raw meat or animal carcasses.
Worm eggs and larvae can survive in the environment for quite a long time, so keeping your dog on a leash when you take it out for walks is a good idea. Asking your vet about a worm and parasite prevention program for your dog can protect against infestations. De-worm your dog regularly and be sure to de-worm any new dog that you bring into your home immediately. Ensure that your de-worming program is sufficient to protect against all different types of worms in dogs.
Worms in dogs are treated by first evaluating the severity of the infestation and determining what type of worm is involved. A thorough examination of the dog by a veterinarian will indicate what the best course of action will be in treating the dog. Potential risks and the overall health of the dog will be taken into account.
Roundworms are treated with medications, your vetinarian can recommend a medication that is best for your dog. The medications available are only effective in treating adult worms, so the treatment will need to be used more than once in order to ensure that it is complete.
Hookworm in dogs is also treated with medications. There are several different medicated treatments available. Most dogs do respond well to treatments, however it is a good idea to visit your veterinarian after treatment is complete to ensure that all traces of infestation have been removed.
Nearly all common worming medications are effective in treating whipworm. As with all medicated worming treatments you will need to be diligent in ensuring that the infestation is completely annulled before ceasing treatment.
Tapeworm can be effectively treated by one dose of a drug. The treatment is very effective and will kill the tapeworm without causing side effects of any kind.
The most commonly used treatment for heartworm infestations is a course of injections. Drugs called adulticides will be injected into the dogs muscle. This treatment can require hospitalisation in extreme cases, however the success rate of the treatment is very high.
It has been claimed by some pet owners that chewing tobacco can be used to kill parasites quickly. Others have said that adding a very small amount of ground cloves to a dogs food each day is a good preventative measure. Doses of wormwood and tinctures of black walnut hull are often used to treat parasites and worms in dogs.