Dogs are prone to a variety of health problems, with worms easily topping the list as some of the most common ailments. Unfortunately for your pet, there are several different types of dog worms, and they each bring their own problems. Here is a list of the most common worms for canines, including symptoms of each.
Roundworms are the most common parasite for dogs, with most dogs experiencing roundworms at some point. They’re especially common in puppies. You can spot these worms in your pup’s feces after a potty break. They’re called “roundworms” because they look similar to a cooked spaghetti noodle. Roundworms can be passed from a mother dog to her puppies before the litter is even born, meaning many dogs are born with roundworms. The parasites also spread through contact with other dogs and through dirt, which tends to harbor worms. You should also note that roundworms can pass to humans, so any dog suspected of roundworms should be isolated from people as much as possible, especially from children.
Whipworms are also rarely seen in stool, though you may be able to spot these threadlike parasites. They cause bloody stool, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, and anemia. Thankfully, whipworms cannot spread to humans. They are passed through infected stool and soil, which your dog may have eaten.
Unlike many other worms, tapeworms are not passed through dog stool. Instead, this disease is carried by fleas. Tapeworms are quite common for dogs. They are called “tapeworms” because they slightly resemble a tape measure and can grow up to 2 feet or longer in length. Tapeworms don’t cause many symptoms and are generally not harmful to pets. You may notice your pet dragging his bottom across the floor or see broken worm segments in your pet’s stool. Your pet may also seem tired and may vomit the tapeworm. Tapeworms can be passed to humans, but it’s a rare occurrence.
Hookworms are also somewhat common for dogs, particularly older dogs. These intestinal parasites attach to the walls of the intestine, feeding off blood. Your dog may experience blood loss as a result of hookworms. You usually won’t spot hookworms in your pet’s stool, though it is possible. These worms are shaped like slugs or earthworms. Your pet will exhibit symptoms such as lethargy and weight loss if he has hookworms. He or she may also have diarrhea or vomiting, and there may be blood in his or her stool. His or her gums may also lose their healthy pink color due to anemia. Hookworms can be dangerous for pets, so seek vet assistance immediately if your dog has symptoms. Many dogs need a blood transfusion as hookworm treatment.
Heartworms are the deadliest parasites on this list. Your dog may contract heartworms if he or she is bitten by an infected mosquito, which makes outdoor dogs especially vulnerable. Symptoms include lethargy, frequent coughing (though not necessarily a hacking cough), weight loss, rapid breathing, and anorexia (refusing to eat). Your pup may also show no signs of heartworms, especially in the early stages of the disease. Fortunately, most vets routinely check for heartworms, but prevention is key.
You can prevent many different types of worms, including heartworms, with a medication like Heartgard Plus. This chewable pill is easy to administer and helps protect your pet from dangerous parasite infections.
Listed below are some references that can guide you on how to protect your dog from worms: