Does Your Dog Have Worms? Know the Signs And Symptoms
Know what to look for in your dog's stool and behavior, plus a listing of nearby veterinarians to turn to for help.
Any dog can end up with worms, and most pet owners are familiar with the threat of heartworms. However, heartworms are not the only type of worms that a dog can get.
There are four other types of intestinal worms — roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm and whipworm — along with a fungus that infects the skin, called ringworm. Puppies are more susceptible to these types of worms than adult dogs are. But I’ve seen my share of worm infections doing volunteer work for a rescue organization. And because not as many people know about these worms, I’d like to briefly let you know what to look for and what to do. With my experience and the help of the Dog Worms Guide and the Companion Animal Parasite Council, I put together a quick guide.
- Roundworms come from ingested fecal matter or dead animals, and they can actually be transferred from mom to pup in the uterus or during nursing. Some symptoms to look for are diarrhea, vomiting and, in severe cases, loss of appetite. Your vet will need to do a test on your dog's stool to make a diagnosis. Read more.
- Tapeworms have segments that are a quarter-inch to half-inch long and generally look like uncooked rice, and they move! I will tell you, I have dealt with this one a lot through my volunteer work with the rescue. Dogs get tapeworms from ingesting an infected flea. Tapeworms can be seen in the dog’s stool or on the backside of your dog on its fur. It is best to have your vet diagnose this and give you a recommendation of what to do to get rid of them. From what I have found, tapeworms need to be treated and retreated in three weeks to take care of the larvae that they lay. Read more.
- Hookworms are dangerous in the fact that they feed off the dog’s blood and can make your dog anemic. A dog can contract hookworms from eating a dead animal, ingesting dirt that is infected or directly through skin contact with infected dirt. It can also be contracted in the womb or from nursing. Signs of a hookworm infection include loose bloody stool and weakness from anemia. It is difficult to diagnose. Your vet may have to test three to four different stool specimens to make a final diagnosis. Read more.
- Whipworms also feed off of the dog’s blood. Whipworms rarely cause death in a dog; however, they can be a real pain. A dog has to ingest whipworm eggs to become infected. Some symptoms are diarrhea and weight loss. Unfortunately, whipworms are hard to diagnose because they produce very few eggs. Read more.
- Ringworms do not affect your dog’s intestinal tract, but it does affect its skin. This can become a big problem. If you see hairless spots, scaly spots or pustules on your dog, contact your vet. Your dog will itch and scratch a lot. They can become infected in kennels or from being around infected dogs.
All of these come down to taking your dog to the vet after watching its symptoms. Your vet will do his or her best to diagnose your dog properly; however, you may be required to take in many different stool samples. The best advices I can give are watch your dog, know your dog's behavior and take care of it. If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms, it is always best to check it out. It’s better to find out your dog is OK than wait until something severe happens.
Here are some helpful preventive tips for all types of parasites.
If you suspect your dog is infected, go to your local vet. Click here for listings in Largo.