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Worms are certainly the most common health problems for dogs. The idea of having worms in our dogs is unpleasant. However, dogs are ideal hosts for worms and parasites. Parasites worm their way into a dog’s lives at one time or another. Understanding the symptoms, risks, and treatment for worms is an integral part of responsible dog ownership. Worms have serious health effects on dogs.
According to Dr. Jerry Klein AKC’s chief veterinary officer, serious health problems can occur if worms in dogs are untreated. All dogs are prone to intestinal parasites, but some dogs are more vulnerable than others. Some intestinal worms can be a risk to human beings as well. That’s a good reason as to why you should always carefully clean up your dog’s stool.
There is a range of different worms that affect dogs. The major ones include Tapeworms, Roundworms, Whipworms, Hookworms, and Heartworms. These worms differ regarding symptoms exhibited. As such, a quick diagnosis and treatment is essential to enhance the health of a dog.
How to Tell if Your Dog Has Worms
The primary way of identifying a dog infested with worms is through its symptoms. Different parasites affect a dog differently. This is why it is sometimes difficult to diagnose a dog in its early stages. The progression of symptoms, however, is enough to rule out the different worms.
The symptoms include Vomiting, Coughing, Diarrhea, Low energy, and change in appetite, weight loss, scooting, and having skin irritations.
This is identified when the dog keeps rubbing its bottom on the ground. It is a sign that something is irritating the dog. This symptom rules out an infection due to worms causing Anal Sac problems. This symptom could indicate a blockage or inflamed anal sacs in a dog due to worms. You can also note this y observing the dog as it tends to lick around the area in an attempt to relieve the pain.
A dull coating is often associated with poor health. This is contrary to a healthy dog that appears to radiate and glow. A healthy dog has a shiny, thick coat. A dog looking to have a dull coat simply means that its skin is drying out. This is an indicator that it has picked up a form of worm. This dull coat is accompanied by rashes and loss of hair.
Change in Appetite
A sudden change in a dog’s appetite is an indicator of something wrong. Dogs that are infected with worms often lose their appetite, since the worms often feed on the dog’s nutrients, causing a change in appetite. Difficulty in swallowing or sudden hunger is enough evidence of the presence of several worms such as roundworms and tapeworms.
Pot Bellied Appearance
This symptom is often characterized as severe. It is usually common in puppies. The puppies often appear to be pot-bellied or bloated. This is an indicator that they have contracted worms. A common gastrointestinal worm associated with this symptom is the roundworm. These symptoms could indicate an intestinal blockage or, worse, liver damage.
This is one of the common symptoms of an infection that the worms cause. A sudden weight loss is an indicator of a whipworm or a tapeworm. The weight loss is often accelerated by mild diarrhea in most cases. This can be observed with an accompaniment of mucus-covered stools in dogs.
Common Worms Affecting Dogs and Treatment
This is the most parasitic worm found in dogs. Roundworms, also known as Ascarids, live inside and feed off a dog’s intestine. These worms are white or light brown appearing as spaghetti. Roundworms infect almost all dogs at some point in their lives. The roundworms are contracted in various ways; a common approach is drinking larvae eggs from the environment. The roundworms can also be contracted by eating small mammals such as mice that have already consumed roundworm larvae. In the case of puppies, they can get infected through nursing from an infected mother dog.
How to Identify a Dog with Roundworms
Various signs and symptoms show presence of roundworms. They include;
- The appearance of Roundworms in Poop or Vomit
- A Dull coat
- Showing weakness and Lethargy
- Pot-bellied appearance
- Sudden weight loss
How the Roundworms Affect Dogs
In the early stages of infection by Roundworms, dogs often display fewer effects by the worm. In progressing stages, the roundworm has several impacts, such as:
- Increased weight loss; caused by lack of appetite and recurrent diarrhea
- Dull hair; caused by a lack of nutrients, usually absorbed by the worm
- Pot-bellied appearance: The stomach of the dog looks full due to the extensive infestation of the intestines.
- Consistent coughing; caused by roundworms moving up the lungs.
The use of deworming drugs can safely treat roundworms. The dogs take between one and three doses. The aim is to kill the adult worms that have infested the intestines. The common deworming drugs include Milbemycin, Piperazine, Fenbendazole, and Pyrantel. For puppies, the medication should be 2-3 weeks.
In the instance of the worms that pass from the mother to the dog, the treatment is different, and in this case, the treatment should proceed from 4 to 8 weeks. This is to be accompanied by a preventative medicine for the nursing mother. The aim is to prevent the risk of transmission.
These are tiny parasites that often live in the dog’s gut. Tapeworms are white and flat like worms. These worms have small segments measuring the size of a rice grain. The tapeworms are easily manageable due to the less severe problems they cause. Tapeworms feed and grow by attaching themselves in the dog’s gut by the use of hook-like suckers.
How to Identify a Dog with Tapeworms
- Considerable weight loss while eating normally
- The appearance of a dull coat
How Do Tapeworms Affect Dogs?
- Scooting: This is identifiable with dogs dragging their bottoms across the floor due to the worm’s irritation.
- Sudden loss of weight: This speeds up by sucking nutrients even though the dog usually eats.
- Reduced Growth: This is common in puppies due to intestinal blockages.
The treatment of tapeworms is effective by the use of a prescription drug. Depending on the age of the dog, different medications will be prescribed by the veterinary. The standard prescription drug given is called Praziquantel. This medication can be given either through an injection or orally.
This deworming drug dissolves the tapeworm in the intestine. As such, an observation of the dog’s poop is not visible. This drug has few adverse side effects and should be taken daily for about one week. Other treatments include chewing granules and tablets sprinkled in food.
These are parasites that exist in the digestive system of the dog. Scientifically, Hookworms are known as Ancylostoma caninum. These parasites hook themselves in the lining of the dog’s intestines. As the name suggests, the hooks act as mouthpieces to which they attach themselves to the intestines. The main aim is to feed off the intestinal lining blood vessels. These worms are 3 millimeters in size, and although small, they have severe effects.
How to Identify a Dog with Hookworms
- Poor Growth
- Diarrhea accompanied by blood
- Weight loss
- Dark and Bloody stool
- Overall weakness
- Pneumonia and Lung Damage
How Hookworms Affect Dogs
- Fatal Anemia: This is a lack of enough healthy blood cells. This condition is caused by ulceration of the hookworms at the feeding sites.
- Overall weakness: Hookworms cause damage to the lungs and episodes of Pneumonia, thus creating a general weakness.
The use of deworming medications is effective and efficient in treating hookworms. Deworming medications include Milbemycin, Pyrantel, and Fenbendazole. The use of Fenbendazole, however, advocated treating young puppies. The treatment for puppies is two weeks’ age, which continues until 12 weeks of age.
In older dog including pregnant females, deworming using universal medications is also advised. This is to reduce the transmission of the worms through the mammary tissue. The cleaning of kennels and living spaces is also a homegrown treatment. This is for the sake of improving the sanitary living conditions to reduce recurrent infection.
This is the most annoying little parasite living in a dog’s intestines. Whipworms are less than 3 inches long. These types of worms have a whip-like appearance characterized by a thick head and a thinner tail.
Whipworms infect dogs by swallowing infected whipworm eggs. This could also arise from eating other substances that contain dog feces. Whipworms are very resistant to showing initial signs. This often appears in dogs older than six months.
How to identify a dog with Whipworms
- Bloody stools
- Weight loss
How Whipworms Affects Dogs
- Consistent irritation: When whipworms often attach themselves to the colon and cecum, they cause irritation, which leads to weight loss.
- Increased weight loss: Recurrent diarrhea accompanied by bloody stools wastes a lot of water and nutrients in a dog resulting in weight loss.
- Death of a dog: Severe whipworm infection leading to bloody diarrhea can cause other serious diseases leading to death.
You can out the dogs under deworming treatment. An effective dewormer is Fenbendazole. This dewormer treats whipworms effectively. This can be in a variety of dogs, such as pregnant females and dogs of all breeds. The puppies should, however, only get this deworming treatment when they are at least six weeks of age.
The removal of feces from yards and kennels where dogs defecate is also an effective treatment. The worms are resistant to environmental exposure. Cleaning of the enclosures helps reduce the exposure to the infective embryonated eggs.
Common Home Remedies for Deworming Dogs
The use of chamomile plants is an excellent remedy for deworming dogs. Chamomile has properties that soothe, thus helping a dog with a bloated belly caused by internal parasites. This remedy works best on whipworms and roundworms. Depending on the weight, the dog should take the remedy twice per day.
Use of Turmeric
Turmeric is also an excellent home remedy. Turmeric contains compounds that repair irritations caused by worms such as Whipworms and Tapeworms.
Carrots for Dog Deworming
The use of carrots is a home remedy with a higher source of Vitamin A. When coarsely chopped carrots are digested, they help in removing parasites. This remedy works best on Roundworms to eliminate the larvae worms as well as Hookworms.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do dogs get worms?
There are a variety of ways to do this. Dogs can get worms by eating worm eggs from contaminated stool or soil, majorly from the surrounding. They also contract infections by eating other small animals that may be infected by worms. Worms even live in spaces where there are less hygienic living conditions. This includes a lack of cleaning sleeping areas.
How long does it take for Worms to leave a Dog?
A variety of treatments work differently. This is the same case regarding the detection of symptoms. Dogs that have shown to have mild symptoms often respond to cure rapidly. This can be within several hours. On the other hand, severe symptoms may take one day or even 2 weeks at the maximum.
How often should I deworm my dog?
The adult dogs often require deworming four times in a year. This should be, however, repetitive if they are in the presence of younger children. Puppies should deworm regularly until the age of six months.
The health of a dog is as important as that of a human being. A closer look at the health of a dog should be occasional. A veterinarian should do this. Different worms show different symptoms. As such, the deworming of dogs while still young should be a routine. This should be consistent when they tend to grow.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.