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Identifying Dog Worms and their Symptoms

August 2, 2011

There are 5 dissimilar types of dog worms (internal parasites), which your dog can fall prey to. These are: heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm and whipworm. As a dog owner, I propose that you educate yourself on these worms in order to be able to identify the symptoms if they should become obvious in your dog.

Early worm detection is important because each type of dog worm requires a dissimilar form of treatment. You should also be aware of the fact that roundworm and hookworm are zoonotic, which means that these worms can be transmitted to humans. Some worm infestations may show slight to no symptoms, whereas others can demonstrate severe symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss. Some dog worms can be seen by the naked eye while some cannot, therefore it is a good idea to ask your vet to perform a stool test for dog worms once a year.

Dog

Below you can find a list of base telltale symptoms of dog worm infestation, but keep in mind that these symptoms can also be a sign of a more serious problem. Whether way, always consult a veterinarian whenever your dog is not “his usual self.”

Dull coat

Weight loss

Appetite loss

Pot-bellied appearance

Coughing

Low vigor level

Diarrhea

Vomiting

Roundworms (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina)

Identifying Dog Worms and their Symptoms

There are two types of Roundworm: Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonine. This is the most base type of dog worm, which affects the intestines and causes a pot-bellied appearance, mostly in puppies. There are a few ways puppies can become infected. Puppies are often infected before birth straight through the mother’s uterus or straight through her milk. Puppies can also compact these worms straight through the ingestion of an infected animal (such as a rodent) or infected soil. Roundworm eggs can live in soil for many years. Once a puppy has ingested the infected soil, the eggs will hatch in his intestines, allowing the worms to live there and grow to adulthood. These adults will then produce more eggs.

Roundworms may be found in your dog’s stool or vomit. They can grow to about 7 inches in distance and have a spaghetti-like appearance. If this type of infestation is not detected early and is allowed a opportunity to develop, a buildup of worms in the intestines can cause an obstruction which may consequent in death. The symptoms of a severe infestation are: pot-belly appearance, diarrhea, vomiting, dull coat and weight loss.

Puppies should be dewormed every 2 weeks between 2 and 12 weeks of age, then monthly until he is 6 months old. Once your puppy has reached 6 months of age, he is less susceptible to contracting these worms but should continue every year exams (or more often if determined high-risk).

Because Roundworm can be transmitted to humans, it is important to promote good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly. Transmission of this dog worm to humans is commonly straight through infected soil, which may be in your backyard or front lawn. Because the eggs are sticky and can admittedly cleave to hands or clothing, make sure children (and adults) wash their hands after playing outside (especially at a park or playground), after playing with the dog and before it’s time to eat.

Treatment generally involves administering oral medication (dewormer) with follow-up fecal exams and a monthly heartworm medication. Try 1-800-PetMeds – America’s Pet condition Resource

Prevent your dog from contracting roundworms by cleaning up fecal matter from the backyard as often as possible. Also, administering a heartworm medication such as HeartGard – prescription Heartworm medication for Dogs & Cats is a good preventive. Do not mix wormers and consult your vet before giving your dog any medication. And last, but not least, always remember every year exams.

Hookworms (Ancylostoma caninium)

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Like Roundworm, Hookworm harbors in the intestines and can also be transmitted to humans. Hookworms can influence a dog at any age. It is a small, thin worm that hooks on to the intestinal wall and sucks the blood from its victim, which cause anemia and maybe death. Due to their sharp teeth, they also cause bleeding in the intestines. Hookworms are not visible by the naked eye, therefore should be diagnosed by a vet. As with roundworm, hookworms also live and grow to adulthood in the intestines. They can also be transmitted to pups while in the mother’s uterus or straight through her breast milk. A dog infected with hookworm would palpate bloody stool, anemia, weight loss, pale gums, diarrhea and low vigor level. Skin irritation can be a sign of a severe infestation.

Hookworms can be transmitted to humans by penetration of the skin, manufacture it is inherent for citizen to become infected plainly by walking barefoot on infected soil. Hookworms, when transmitted to humans, can cause bleeding in the intestines along with abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Treatment commonly consists of oral medications (dewormer), follow-up fecal exams, intravenous therapy and, if necessary, a blood transfusion. Hookworm infestation can kill your pup before the worm is ever detected. This is why it is so important to keep up with veterinary visits and exams.

Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum)

The tapeworm gets its name from its long, flat, tape-like appearance. It is yet other parasite that affects the intestines, and like the roundworm, can be seen by the naked eye. Broke pieces of this dog worm would be found in the dog’s fecal matter, which give it a rice-like appearance. These pieces of worm, although broken, can be found (still moving) nearby the dog’s anus, in his stool or in his bed. base symptoms of severe tapeworm infestation are abdominal pain, nervousness, severe itching nearby the anus, vomiting and weight loss.

Transmission to dogs is often caused by the ingestion of infected fleas. Although, humans are susceptible to being infected, a dog cannot forward the dog worm to a human directly.

Regular over-the-counter deworming medication is not efficient in eliminating this type of dog worm. A prescription dewormer is administered orally or by injection (praziquantel or epsiprantel). Consult your vet. Try 1-800-PetMeds – America’s Pet condition Resource

Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis)

Whipworms are long, thin (whip-shaped) dog worms that live in the dog’s colon and are not visible by the naked eye. They attach themselves to the intestinal walls and feed off of them which, in turn, causes intestinal bleeding. base symptoms of whipworm infestation are anemia, weight loss, flatulence, diarrhea with blood or mucus in the stool and lack of energy.

Although whipworms are the most difficult to eliminate among the families of dog worms, there is efficient rehabilitation available.

Whipworm is most effectively treated with fenbendazole (panacur), but febantel can also be used. prescription medications are commonly more effective. The rehabilitation lasts for up to 5 days and is repeated after 3 weeks. After this rehabilitation is finished, consult your vet about recommending a heartworm medication (containing milbemycin oxime) as a preventative to time to come infestation. Try 1-800-PetMeds – America’s Pet condition Resource

Along with administering heartworm medication regularly, here are other ways to prevent reinfection:

Remove feces from backyard every few days
Clean yard with a safe cleaning agent (which kills worms)
Have feces tested every 6 months (more often if previously infected)

Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis)

Heartworm, although extremely preventable, has the inherent to be fatal, if contracted and left untreated.

Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, mostly while the warm months when mosquitoes are most active. The mosquito becomes infected from biting dogs that carry the disease. These dog worms destroy the muscle and tissue of the heart, which can cause congestive heart failure and consequent in death. At this industrialized stage, your dog would palpate the typical signs of worms, such as pot-belly, coughing, lack of vigor and dull coat.

Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of this disease until it has progressed to an industrialized stage. For this reason, it is important to start your dog on a heartworm preventative such as HeartGard – prescription Heartworm medication for Dogs & Cats at 6 months of age (after the first stage deworming process is complete. Check with your vet). Arresting is the best medicine.

General guidelines for dog worm prevention

When walking your dog in a park, picking up his feces as a proper custom not only prevents soil contamination, but also prevents the spread of many other dog diseases.

Regular visits to the vet and stool testing is a great way to prevent dog worms, as well as other illnesses. Twice-yearly worm testing is recommended. Make sure your dog is tested for worms before beginning a heartworm preventative.

High-risk dogs should be screened more often (check with your vet).

Flea operate is important because fleas are responsible for the spread of tapeworms.

Most puppies find feces quite appetizing. Keep your dog away from feces: his own as well as others. This is the most base form of worm infestation.

When cleaning your dog’s area, such as his bed or crate, spray it with a strong saltwater solution and let dry. This aids in the Arresting of worms.

Before traveling with your dog to obscure destinations, consult your vet of the inherent risks to your dog.

Avoid exposing your dog to stray animals, birds and dead rodents, which often harbor teenage tapeworms that can mature inside your dog.

Contact your vet if your dog displays any symptoms after receiving worm medication.

This information is Not intended to replace the guidance of a veterinarian, dog trainer or pet care professional.

Identifying Dog Worms and their Symptoms
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Music video by Calle 13 performing Muerte En Hawaii. (C) 2011 Sony Music Entertainment US Latin LLC

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