Worms in dogs is a common concern for all dog owners. Dogs with worms are deprived of the nutrients their bodies need as the worms consume all of these making the dogs weak, lethargic and sickly, and even in danger of dying. Worms can infest dogs anytime in their lives, even when they are still inside their mother’s womb.
The treatment for dog worms is designed to eliminate specific worms infesting the dog’s stomach. Several types of worms may infest a dog’s stomach, so it is very important to administer the right medication that works best in eliminating the specific types of worms found in the stomach of your dog.
Why do Worms in Dogs Occur?
There are a number of reasons for the presence of worms in dogs, some of these are:
- Maternal transmission
- Eating raw fish or meat
- Eating feces infected with worms
- Mosquito and flea bites
Symptoms of worms in dogs
There isn’t a complete list of signs and symptoms manifested by dogs infected with worms as different types of dog worms display different sets of symptoms. However, dogs with worms do not want to eat, vomit and lose weight. They also have persistent cough, bloated belly, dull coat, low energy, bad breath and periodic diarrhea. Worms in dogs is manifested through excessive dragging or rubbing of their bottoms on the ground. When these symptoms surface, it generally means that worms are growing in large numbers to the extent that they are disrupting the dog’s normal bodily functions. A dog’s health is compromised because he is deprived of the nutrients thereby affecting his internal organs.
Different Types of Worms in Dogs and their Symptoms
This type of dog worm is quite common and looks like spaghetti pasta with a very sticky texture. Roundworms are often seen in puppies giving them a pot-bellied appearance. The worms are transmitted through the mother or by ingesting soil infected with roundworms. Puppies infected with roundworms experience sudden onset of stomach pain and display seemingly endless crying and sobbing. Roundworms can cause difficulty in milk production in mother dogs and abdominal swelling and vomiting in adult dogs. The stools of an infected dog appear brown with black and orange swirls.
Tapeworms are easily identified by the naked eye and are spread by means of fleas. These worms have a flat and long appearance with segments. Tapeworms look like rice grains in the dog’s feces that sometimes stick on the fur surrounding his anus. They can also be found on the floor, furniture and the dog’s bedding. Symptoms of worms in dogs caused by tapeworms are characterized by restlessness, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain and an itchy bottom.
As the name suggests, hookworms hook themselves to the intestinal walls of the dog and is considered life-threatening for younger dogs. The worm breaks into the dog’s body from his mother or larvae infiltrating the skin. Hookworms make the dog anemic and lean as these worms feed on the dog’s blood, consuming all the nutrients. Dogs with hookworms have pale ears, lips and nose, while their stools are dark and very tarry. When hookworms move into the dog’s lungs, he will start to cough.
This type of dog worm is thin and long, and spreads through direct contact with dogs infected with whipworms. Whipworms settle in the dog’s large intestines and feed themselves through the dog’s blood. Dogs infected with whipworms exhibit symptoms such as intestinal bleeding, slimy and blood-tinged stools, anemia, weight loss, lethargy and dehydration.
The heartworm is the deadliest type of dog worm which resides on the dog’s respiratory system and not on the digestive tract. This type of dog worm exhibits specific symptoms which become obvious when they mature and invade the heart and lungs of the infected dog. Heartworms spread by means of mosquito bites and produce symptoms like breathing difficulty, hacking cough, abdominal swelling, high blood pressure, general malaise, fainting spells and congestive heart failure.
Treatment for Worms in Dogs
Treating dog worms depends on the specific worms infesting the dog. There are over-the-counter medications that can eliminate certain types of worms. However, it is best to bring the dog to the veterinarian for a comprehensive check up. Worms like hooks, tapes, whips and roundworms can only be diagnosed by evaluating the dog’s stool samples. The veterinarian will prescribe the right medication, dosage and schedule of administration of dog dewormers. In case the dog is infected with heartworms, the dog may be confined in the hospital and treated with immiticide injections.
The most effective way to prevent dog worm infestation is by maintaining cleanliness, keeping the dog away from feces and dead animals, as well as feeding him with well-cooked fish or meat. Since worms in dogs cannot be totally avoided, the dog owners must be vigilant for any signs of worms in their dogs and seek immediate treatment.