Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworm, whipworm, and heartworm are the most common types of parasitic worms in dogs. Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and whipworms live in the dog’s intestines and 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. If left untreated any type of dog worm can be fatal, but the heartworm is the most dangerous of them all.
Fleas are a major source of certain types of worms, such as tapeworms. When a dog accidentally swallows an infected flea, worms 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. Parasitic worms can also be contracted from other pet’s feces, which can be easily be found in parks, on pet runs, and even in your own backyard. Whipworm and roundworm eggs can remain infectious for years, and hookworm larvae can multiply in the soil in and around a dog run, park or yard.
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One of the most obvious ways to detect dog worms is to simply examine your dog’s feces. This can be accomplished by sight alone. Dog worms can also be found in your dog’s food, 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. Other symptoms of parasitic worms in dogs include:
Change in your dog’s appetite
Coughing and hiccupping (due to heartworm)
Distended abdomen in puppies
Inability to exercise
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent parasitic worms in worms. One of the most important ways to prevent a serious dog worm infection is to have your pet screened for worms twice per year. If your dog is considered high-risk for worms, you should have him screened more than twice a year. High-risk dogs typically 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. 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 cutting edge preventatives that are extremely effective against the most aggressive types of parasites such as roundworm, whipworm, hookworm, and heartworm.
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In addition to preventative measures, 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. If you notice any of the symptoms of dog worms listed above, please contact your vet immediately.