There are a variety of worms that are commonly found in our canine friends. The usual suspects are roundworm and tapeworm, however whipworm and hookworm are also common, the difference being they are found in the blood stream rather than the intestines.
Roundworm looks distinctly like pieces of spaghetti and are found in your dog’s intestines. They live off partially digested food and although they are relatively small parasites, there can be dozens living within the intestines at any one time. Sometimes a dog with roundworm will appear lethargic and undernourished because of this.
Usually developed from fleas, tapeworm differs as they are much longer, flatter parasites, filled with eggs one the worm has reached maturity. Tapeworm looks a lot like ribbon and can grow up to 20cm in length, attaching to the dogs intestine with their hook like mouth.
Whipworms and Hookworms
Instead of digesting food through the intestines, these types of worms feast on the dog’s blood once they have hooked onto the intestinal wall. Although these are less common, the symptoms are very similar if they are seen at all, with persistent vomiting and diarrhoea being noticeable. These types of worms can be very detrimental to a dog’s health, causing anaemia and weight loss.
Often there are no symptoms of worms in dogs, although when a dog scoots its bottom along the floor, it is usually a common sign of tapeworm. With any unusual behaviour in dogs, the vet should be the first port of call to answer any questions and also to give your dog a god check over, as there may be anal gland problems also. Roundworms often cause swollen abdomens, especially in puppies. Sickness and diarrhoea can be symptoms of any type of worm as well.
It’s important to remember that by the time you have noticed any symptoms of worms, the infestation is already severe and damaging your dog’s health. Although it is a little unrealistic to avoid worms completely, regular treatment will maintain good dog health and kill any existing worms and also remove any that are in the process of maturity. There are a variety of options available, so consult your vet for advice before you begin treatment.
It is usually advisable to treat your dog around once every three months, although this can differ. Vets can offer worming programmes for individual dogs to follow, but otherwise make sure you follow instructions carefully when worming your pet.