All dogs are likely to suffer from worms at some point in their life, so it's important to know all about them.
There are two main types of intestinal worms that affect dogs: roundworms and tapeworms:
Roundworms look like strands of spaghetti and can reach up to 20cm in length. They live on partially digested food in the dog’s bowel, and adults release microscopic eggs that are passed out into the environment in the dog’s faeces. If a dog sniffs, licks, or plays in an area containing contaminated faeces the eggs can be picked up on his muzzle and paws and then ingested.
Tapeworms have distinctive, flat segments and are found in the dog’s intestines. Tapeworm eggs need to be eaten by an intermediate host, such as a flea or a gecko and when a dog swallows the host he becomes infected.
Symptoms of worms can range from: NONE (!) to weight loss and being visibly underweight/worms in faeces, vomit, or around the anus/ bottom scooting/hunger/flaky skin/dull coat/diarrhoea/vomiting and less often: coughing/skin disease/constipation/breathing difficulties/reoccurring infections/lethargy, weakness, or swelling of the limbs.
All types of dog worms can cause Zoonotic disease. A zoonotic disease is a disease spread between animals and people. Children are often at greatest risk of zoonotic infections because of their play habits and affection for pets. Some of these can be very serious and cause permanent damage ie: roundworms can migrate through tissues and cause permanent blindness if in the eyes, hookworms can cause gastrointestinal problems and itchy skin lesions, tapeworms can cause diarrhea and itchiness and even hydatid disease- cystic or tumorous growths in the liver and other abdominal organs.
It's super important to realise and remember that even if your pet does not exhibit any signs of parasitism they could still be infected and therefore a source of infection for other pets and people too!
When a de-worming treatment is given it will rid your dog of any worms in his digestive tract. However, it won’t prevent reinfection so it’s important to have a year-round programme in place. How often you treat your dog will depend on the product you use, your pet’s age, and his lifestyle.
Please feel free to give us a call anytime or pop in to discuss your pets needs and to make sure they are well protected. 😊
Did you know?
Victorian ladies of the 1800's swallowed tapeworms to help them lose weight!
Tapeworm segments which pass out in your dog’s faeces look like grains of rice, but look closer and you’ll see them moving.
Other types of worms in dogs include the hookworm, whipworm, heartworm, and lungworm.
Female roundworms can produce up to 200,000 eggs a day.