Dogs & Worms
It's always unnerving to think about our cherished pups getting infected with worms, however, it's essential to know the signs of worms and how to prevent them. Dogs can get infected with worms by coming into contact with contaminated feces or soil. Some worms can even be spread to humans.
If worms go untreated, they can result in a range of dangerous conditions such as internal organ damage, loss of consciousness, and death.
Here we tell you how dogs can get worms, discuss the common types of worms, and explain how they can be treated.
The Causes of Worms in Dogs
Dogs can get worms in many ways. Usually, dogs get infected by ingesting or eating a substance that has been contaminated with microscopic parasitic eggs such as feces, soil, raw meat, prey animals, or external parasites (such as fleas during grooming).
An infected mother can even pass worms onto her puppies either through birth or by feeding them milk.
Dogs can also get certain types of worms (such as hookworms) when their skin comes into contact with contaminated stool or soil. The worms can then burrow their way into your pup's skin. This makes it very important to always pick up your dog's poop because you could be putting the other dogs in your neighborhood at risk.
Types of Worms Seen In Dogs
Below we have listed some types of worms that can infect dogs:
This type of worm is flat, segmented, and lives in your dog's intestines. Dogs can get tapeworms by ingesting infected fleas or by eating infected wild animals. Once consumed, the tapeworm eggs hatch and attach to the dog's intestinal lining. Dipylidium caninum is the most common type of tapeworm in the United States, and dogs can get them from fleas.
One way you can tell if your dog has tapeworms is by checking their stool, this type of worm can pass through their feces and look like tiny pieces of rice. Your dog may also scoot, rubbing its butt along the ground. If you notice your dog exhibiting either of these signs, call your vet to schedule a fecal examination.
There are two types of roundworms that can infect dogs, Toxocara canis (T. canis) and Toxascaris leonina, and they are some of the most common worms among dogs. However, T. canis is more common in puppies. They can also be transmitted to humans.
Puppies are often born with roundworms because they get them from their mother. This makes it imperative for new puppies to receive the level of veterinary care they need. Dogs can also get this parasite from their environment because roundworms have hard shells that can survive on soil for years. Roundworm eggs can pass through a dog's stool, where the animal can be reinfested, or the worm can be transmitted to another dog.
After it has been ingested, the larva emerges from the egg and makes its way to the lungs where it is coughed up, swallowed, and enters the small intestine where it matures.
This type of worm is diagnosed with a fecal exam and can often be treated with deworming medication provided by your veterinarian.
Whipworms live in a dog's cecum, which is the beginning of the large intestine. Dogs can get this worm from ingesting contaminated substances such as feces, water, soil, or animal flesh.
It can be hard to tell if your pup has whipworms because dogs don't usually exhibit any symptoms until their condition becomes more advanced. In serious cases, dogs can develop symptoms such as weight loss, inflammation, diarrhea, and sometimes anemia.
Because dogs don't usually show any signs of whipworms in their early stages, it's very important to bring a sample of your dog's stool to the vet regularly for fecal exams.
Hookworms are seen more often in dogs than in cats and they pose a serious threat to the health of our canine companions. They attach to the walls of a dog's intestine and drink large amounts of blood. If these worms are left without treatment they can cause anemia and potentially death. Hookworms can also be passed on to humans.
Dogs can get hookworms from their environment, where the worms can burrow into their skin, or your pup could ingest them through infected soil. Puppies can also get infected by drinking their mother's milk if she has the parasite. Infected animals can pass hundreds of microscopic eggs through their stool, and when they hatch, can survive on soil for several months. However, they are so small they can't be seen.
Your Veterinarian can diagnose hookworms through fecal floatation, where a sample of your dog's stool is combined with a solution that makes the worm eggs float to the top.
Signs & Symptoms of Worms in Dogs
Dogs can show various signs of worms, depending on which kind they have, we've listed the most common ones below:
- Poor Coat Appearance
- Abdominal Pain
- Worms in Stool
- Bloated Stomach
If your dog shows any of the signs detailed above, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an examination.
Getting Rid of Worms in Dogs
Most of the time, a microscopic examination of your dog's feces has to be conducted in order to diagnose your dog with worms. If your pup is exhibiting any signs of worms your veterinarian will ask you to bring in a sample of your dog's stool to perform a fecal examination. In the event your dog isn't showing any symptoms, it's always best to have a fecal exam conducted by your veterinarian at least once a year because some worms will show no signs in the early stages.
Usually, your veterinarian will be able to prescribe deworming medications to help your dog's symptoms. There are different types of deworming medications available, the kind your vet uses will depend on the type of worms your dog has,
We also recommend providing your dog with prevention products to help protect them from ever getting parasites.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.