There are a variety of intestinal parasites that can infest our four-legged friend. The dog worms that are of greatest concern are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, heartworms and whipworms. We find out what to do if you notice the presence of worms in dog feces, what the main symptoms are, and how to treat intestinal parasites of dogs.
Worms in dogs: main causes!
Roundworms are a type of worm that are usually transmitted from the mother to the puppies. The larvae can reach the puppies via the placenta, but not only; in some cases the eggs can be found in the breast milk; precisely for this reason is a practice to automatically de-worm the puppies once they’re old enough. Tapeworms, on the other hand, are passed from the feces of other animals that are already infected or by fleas containing tapeworm eggs. Hookworms and whipworms are found in moist soil, and dogs most at risk are those who spend time on lawns or in parks, especially in hot and humid conditions.
Heartworms are a kind of dog worm that is spread by mosquitoes, so it is endemic in areas where insects are more common. Pulmonary strongyles nematodes are instead spread through the feces of foxes, snails and slugs.
Knowing how our dog could get worms certainly does not help to prevent the risk, not least because you can’t shut the dog in the house all the time, but you can certainly be a little more careful in certain situations. At the first suspicion of infection, once again, we recommend that you immediately pay a visit to your vet.
Worms in dogs: intestinal parasites symptoms
Although each type of intestinal worm has its own life cycle, symptoms of infection can be very similar. Therefore it will not be easy to figure out the type of dog worms without first performing a thorough examination of the stool. However, based on general symptoms you can tell if your dog has worms.
The first step to see if the dog has worms is to note if there are worms in dog feces, in many cases it is possible to notice some white worms in the stool, even if we remember that not all types of worms can be seen with the naked eye. We may also observe gastrointestinal symptoms, as if the dog’s intestine is colonized with intestinal worms, they may have irritated bowel walls, be subject to vomiting (in some cases dogs vomit worms), diarrhea, mucus and blood in the dogs stool, poor appetite and weight loss. Let us remember, however, that some worms such as pulmonary strongylosis or heartworm can be detected only through blood analysis.
You can perform several diagnostic tests to detect the presence of dog worms. These pests can infest the heart and lungs and lead to death in severe cases. It ‘s always important to check the physical of our four-legged friend, because dog worms, especially tapeworms, absorb nutrients and the dog may lose weight. In fact, in case of intestinal parasites, dogs may have a lean look, with visible ribs, matte dog hair, and a swollen belly; while dogs infected with strongylosis filarosi may experience cardiac and respiratory problems.
Worms in dogs: treatment of intestinal parasites
The earlier you spot the presence of infection, the easier it will be to de-worm the dog . As soon as the first symptoms appear, it is necessary to collect a stool sample in a special sterile container with the screw cap, and take it immediately to the veterinarian for analysis. If you can see worms in the dogs’ stool with the naked eye, you may want to pick them up with tweezers and even take them to the veterinarian in another container. Needless to say, it’s important to always use latex gloves when performing these operations!