Symptoms of Dog Worms
One of the most common ailments in dogs is worm infestations. Worms are parasites that live inside the animal and cause different problems, depending on the type of worm your pet has. Generally, there are five major types of worms, roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm, whipworm and the dreaded heartworm. All of these can cause light to serious complications and should never be left untreated. First, let’s look at the different types of parasite and what dog worm symptoms each type may cause.
The most common type of infestation comes from the roundworm. This parasite is usually passed to puppies from their mothers either before birth or in her breast milk. This intestinal worm can be passed to humans. In dogs, the worm will cause weight loss and a potbellied appearance. Left untreated these worms multiply at an alarming rate. An adult female roundworm can lay up to 200,000 eggs per day for a year. This can cause an obstruction in the dogs’ intestinal tract and lead to death. It is recommended that you treat your animals with a regular schedule of de-wormer starting when they are weaned. There are commercial as well as natural worm treatment options available.
The hookworms are like round worms in that they are an intestinal parasite. The hookworm however is smaller and feeds on blood from the intestinal wall. Since their diet is blood, the hookworm can cause anemia and occasionally death in dogs. There are few symptoms of hookworm and they will not be visible in stool or vomit. To determine an infestation, you must see your vet who will do a stool analysis. Although this is another parasite that can be passed to humans it will not cause the same problems in humans as in canines. In humans, the worm cannot penetrate much deeper than just under the skin, this causes an itchy rash with a worm like appearance.
The tapeworm is so named because of its appearance; it is long and flat looking much like a piece of tape. This type of worm is spread in dogs by the ingestion of an infected flea. For example, the flea feeds off an infected animal picking up the tapeworm egg, and then your pet eats the flea while grooming himself. Symptoms of tapeworm infestation are nervousness, abdominal pain, itching especially around the anus, vomiting and weight loss. If you see any of these symptoms, you may want to seek medical attention.
The whipworms live in the dogs’ colon and are not visible to the naked eye. They too feed off the intestinal wall and cause many ailments. Symptoms of this type of dog worm are anemia, weight loss, flatulence and diarrhea which contains blood or mucous. This parasite is the hardest of the intestinal worms to remove but there are treatment options available – both natural worm treatments, and pharmaceutical.
Finally, the most serious of dog worms is the heartworm. This worm is passed from one animal to another through the mosquito. The key to survival of heartworms is prevention. People who live in warm damp climates that are prone to heavy mosquito activity should especially be concerned, and take precautionary measures. Once infected there are few good treatment options, most include giving the animal limited doses of arsenic, the treatment alone can kill the dog. The infection is so serious because the heartworm takes up residence in the heart and arteries to the heart causing it to enlarge and eventually fail. Symptoms can include coughing, weight loss and a potbellied appearance much like other dog worm symptoms.
No matter which type of parasite you think you may be dealing with get some help either veterinarian or natural but be pro active for better canine health, and use worm preventatives to stop dog worms symptoms in your dog.