Almost all canines in the world have worms in them. The infestation levels are usually low, and the dog’s body builds up immunity towards them. However, sometimes the infestation can get to the point where they can cause lethargy, anemia, lack of appetite and in certain cases, even death of the pooch.
Here’s the good news though, almost all the worms that a dog can get are treatable with proper medication. Among the different types of worms that affect dogs, the most common are heartworms, tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms.
Symptoms of worm infestation in dogs
The most common symptoms that you can keep a look out for if you suspect that your furry friend has got worms in its system are:
- Vomiting: A dog that has worms will keep throwing up, and you might be able to see roundworms in the vomit.
- Lethargy: When active dogs become lethargic and altogether less energetic than before, it is possible that they have worms.
- Coughing: Dogs with heartworms, hookworms, and roundworms often develop a cough, especially in advanced stages.
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea and soft stool can also occur. In fact, hookworm infested dogs may pass bloody stool.
- Bloated appearance: If you think your dog looks bloated or pot-bellied, you might want to get it checked.
- Loss of weight: Another pointer that your dog has contracted worms is if it is losing weight, this is especially true in the case of whipworm and tapeworm.
- Altered appetite: Roundworm contractions often result in a lack of appetite. On the other hand, worms, in general, tend to pilfer the nutrients meant for the dog, resulting in an increased appetite in your Fido.
- Lackluster fur: If you see the dog’s coat getting duller and drying out, it is possible that may have the worms. A healthy pooch has a thick, shiny coat.
If you find any of the above symptoms in your dog, please take it to the vet to have the ailment confirmed and get the treatment started.
Worm medicines for dogs
As mentioned before, most of the worms that can affect your dog can be easily shown the way out by way of medication. Medicines that treat worm infections in dogs (also other animals and birds) are known as dewormers. Worms usually live in the dog’s intestines, and these dewormers help in killing the worms and flushing them out.
Types of dog worms
We’ll now take a quick glance at the 5 most common worms that can lead your dog to ill health:
- Heartworms: These are spread between dogs by way of mosquito bites. They usually make their residence in the dog’s heart and its arteries. Heartworms can cause the most life-threatening conditions for a dog and also requires the most expensive treatment, which can be difficult for the dog as well.
- Whipworms: They live at the conjunction point of the large and small intestines. Dogs usually contract whipworms from socially grooming each other and also from contaminated soils. These worms suck blood from the intestinal areas and result in bloody diarrhea.
- Hookworms: They dwell in the small intestine of dogs. Adult dogs get hookworm infection by way of licking themselves clean or directly through their skin. Puppies usually get the infection from their mother and can die if swift treatment is not done. Fully grown dogs experience malnutrition and weakness.
- Roundworms: This can be a severe infection in adult dogs and puppies alike, with the latter at more of a risk of losing their life as a result. Roundworms are also the most common infection that affects dogs. Dewormers work well to cure this condition. Humans can contract this worm as well.
- Tapeworms: These get attached to the intestines and steal nutrients from the foods that the dog eats. Tapeworms are constituted of small parts, each being about the size of a grain of rice. They can be visible around the dog’s anus sometimes and are passed in their fecal matter. Tablets and injection can be useful for curing tapeworms.
How to prevent worms in dogs
As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Here is what you can do to try and prevent your dog from getting worms. Remember, some pooches are just born with it, leaving you no hope for prevention. For dogs that contract the condition from the environment, you can take the following preventive measures.
- Make yearly visits to the vet
- Feed your dog only well-cooked meat
- Runs should be on cement or other dry surfaces
- Disallow your dog from roaming alone, if it feeds on carrion worm infection is much more likely
- Do a pest control of your house to keep lice, mice, and fleas at bay
Remember, in most cases, a healthy environment can be enough to ensure that your dog does not contract worms. On the off chance that it does, or if you suspect it has got worms in its system, take it to the veterinarian immediately to nip the ailment in the bud.