Worms are extremely common in dogs and the chances are that your dog will have worms at least once in their life. Once diagnosed, generally worms are easily treated and your beloved companion will be back to themselves in two shakes of a tail.
Here are some of the most common types of worms found in dogs:
These are very common in dogs, particularly in puppies. Roundworms can easily be found in your dog’s poo, which look like long spaghetti shaped parasites. They thrive in your dog’s intestines and can cause diarrhea and bloating.
Hookworms are blood-sucking parasites that live in dog’s intestines. They attach to the lining of the intestine, where they feed off your dogs’ blood. This can cause your dog to be anaemic and can become fatal if left untreated.
These can be found in your dog’s poo, which look like small grains of rice. Tapeworms feed off the food in your dog’s intestines and can cause your dog to become very thin from lack of nutrition.
Whipworms are very resilient and can live undetected in the intestines for over 5 years. Symptoms include inflammation of the intestines, weight loss, diarrhea and anaemia.
These worms are caught from mosquitos and live in your dog’s blood vessels and heart. When Heartworms move around the body, they can cause irreversible damage to the walls of the heart, valves and vessels. Prevention is easy through medication that can be given monthly or administered by a vet that offers protection for up to 1 year. If you are unsure of the heartworm status of your dog check with your vet before treating them and they can do a heartworm test and then advise.
What to look out for
If there are no obvious signs in your dog’s poo, worms can sometimes be hard to detect. There are symptoms you can look out for that may give you a sign that something isn’t right:
Diarrhea: Constant diarrhea which may also look bloody
Stomach pain: Look for signs of tenderness or wincing when you pat your dog’s belly
Weight loss: rapid or excessive weight loss is a strong indication that worms may be present in your dog’s intestines
Vomiting: worms can induce nausea and vomiting
Bloating: worms can cause your dog to look ‘pot-bellied’.
If in doubt, see a veterinarian. They can help you diagnose the type of worms your dog may have and prescribe the right type of treatment.