If you have your pet screened twice a year, your vet will detect any type of worm infection if one exists. If you don’t have your pet screened often, you will have to become familiar with the symptoms of worms. One of the most obvious ways to determine if your dog has worms is to take a quick look at your pets feces. Worms can easily be seen protruding from your dog’s waste.
These worms can be anything from the half-inch-long hookworm or a tapeworm.
In addition to finding worms in your dog’s feces, other symptoms of dog worms include:
·Change in your dog’s appetite
·Coughing and hiccupping (due to heartworm)
·Distended abdomen in puppies
·Inability to exercise
In addition to recognizing signs of worms in dogs, it is important to recognize what the different types dog worms look like, and where they live. Tapeworms can grow up to a three feet long if left untreated and they can have as many as many as 90 segments. Other types of parasitic worms common in dogs include: roundworm, whipworm, and the heartworm. Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and whipworms live in the dog’s intestines and the heartworm lives in the dog’s heart and in the blood vessels that lead from the heart to the lungs.
Round worms look like spaghetti and tapeworm segments look like grains of rice. In addition to your dog’s food, dog worms can be found on or buried in your dog’s fur, around his anus, around his paws (from scratching) and it is not uncommon to find them in your dog’s ears.
There are several ways to prevent a worm infection. As mentioned earlier, your dog should be screened twice a year, especially if he is considered high-risk. High-risk dogs live in condensed urban areas and they usually live in a home with more than one pet. Show pets and hunting dogs are also considered high-risk. It’s also a good idea to keep your dog clean and well groomed. You should also dispose of dog feces immediately. Never leave it in piles around your yard, dog run, etc. Whipworm and roundworm eggs can remain infectious for years, and hookworm larvae can multiply in the soil in and around a dog run.
It is important to keep in mind that fleas are a source of certain types of tapeworms. When a dog accidentally swallows an infected flea, the tapeworms can hatch in the dog’s intestines. These types of tapeworms can also be transmitted to humans as well. Animal carcasses such as rodents and rabbits may also contain tapeworms, so be sure to keep your pets away from them at all costs.
If your dog has symptoms of worms, please contact your vet immediately. Caring for a dog with worms should be done only under the care of a vet. Most non-prescription medications don’t work. Your vet will have access to a number of innovative preventatives and treatments that are effective against the most aggressive types of parasites such as roundworm, whipworm, hookworm, and heartworm.