Aside from dog stools that may be present in every corner of the house, dog worms are another concern that pet owners have. Dog worms do not just suck out the health of your pet dog – they could infect you as well. It is a good thing there are a lot of worm medicines for dogs that can be bought over the counter – but just be sure that it is the right medicine for the right worm.
Dog worms come in five different types namely roundworm, hookworm, heartworm, tapeworm and whipworm. In treating these worms, you as an owner should have an idea on what type of worm your dog has. It is not therapeutic to treat your dog with a certain medicine which works for another type of worm. With that in mind, it is best to have a consultation with your veterinarian in order to determine the specific type of worm your dog has. Usually, a stool exam is performed to determine the type of worm and the mode of treatment. Treatment with a suitable dog worming product can then proceed.
Below are the five types of worm, their corresponding symptoms, and treatment.
Roundworms come in two types: Toxascaris leonine and Toxocara Canis. They look like a spaghetti and can grow to about 7 inches in the intestine of the dog. Roundworms are the most common type of worm that infects dogs. Dogs can contract roundworms by ingesting infected animals or soil. Dogs can also get roundworms while they are still in the uterus of their mother or while breastfeeding. Symptoms of roundworm infestation are pot belly, vomiting, dull coat, diarrhea, and weight loss. Treatment for roundworms includes intake of oral dewormer every 2 weeks ( age 2 to 12 weeks) until the dog is 6 months old. It should be noted that roundworms can infect humans thus frequent hand washing is advised.
Hookworms, like roundworms, stays in the intestine of the dog and can infect humans. They are very small thus could not be seen by the naked eye. They have sharp teeth and adhere well to the intestinal mucosa of the dog. Hookworms get their nutrition by sucking the blood of the dog. They can be contracted by breastfeeding or while the dog is still in the mother’s uterus. Symptoms associated with hookworms are bloody stools, weight loss, anemia, low energy level and pale gums. Treatments for hookworms include dewormers and blood transfusion.
Tapeworms are long and flatworms. They infect the intestine of the dog. Broken pieces of this worm can be seen in the stool of the dog and sometimes on their anus. Symptoms of tapeworm infestation include abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, and severe itching at the anus. Treatments include oral praziquantel or injection.
Whipworms are long and thin and are the hardest to treat among the five. They infect the colon of the dogs. Symptoms of whipworm include bloody mucoid diarrhea, weight loss, anemia and lack of energy. Treatment includes fenbendazole which is repeated after 3 weeks.
Last is Heartworms which are transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Heartworms can be fatal is not treated. They have the capability to destroy cardiac muscles which can lead to congestive heart failure. Symptoms of heartworm infection are similar to other worms and treatment for this should be specialized thus veterinary consult is advised.