By George Alaniz
There are five different types of worms that dogs are susceptible to, two of which being more common, yet all are a quantifiable threat.
This short guide will explain each one, where they are contracted and how to treat any infection.
This is kind of an umbrella phrase for a selection of roundworm parasites. They are all very species-specific so will probably not affect other animals. The most common of these parasites is the Toxocara canis, which is simply known as the dog roundworm.
The worms do not cause any symptoms in adult dogs, even though they can be from 9-18cm long, however, they can cause death in puppies. This is a problem because the worms can be transferred from the mother to the puppies so it is highly important to consult a veterinarian from the start of the pup’s life.
To prevent these more common types of worms, regular oral medicine such as Drontal Worming tablets for dogs can deal with it in a biscuit form, which is least distressing to the dog.
Tapeworms also be removed by Drontal treatments, and are one of the more common types of parasite. They get their name from their ribbon-like shape and flat appearance.
They are typically contracted when a dog eats a flea that has had contact with a tapeworm egg, or they can be transferred from infected rabbits.
Unlike some of the more harmful worms, they don’t have mouths, so intestinal bleeding is not a threat.
That still doesn’t mean they’re nice, though. These worms are much more adept at crossing between species, so it’s in the pet owners’ interest to sort them out as quickly as possible for their own good as well as the dog’s health.
Possibly one of the more formidable looking worms found in dogs, the hookworm gets its name from literally hooking into the intestine of a dog.
The sharp teeth mean that they cause the dog to bleed internally, seriously affecting their health.
Symptoms include lack of appetite and pale appendages. It’s extremely important to have the worms removed ASAP as they can be fatal pretty quickly.
Hookworms are usually contracted from the milk of the dog’s mother.
The name could be taken to mean that there is some sort of action involved in their reputation, but whipworms get their names from their long neck and short, fat bodies, making them look like a whip with handle.
They use their necks to bury into the dogs’ intestine, also causing bleeding. The parasites are transmitted when dogs eat the eggs.
These are the least common type of worm for dogs, but also the most deadly. As the name suggests, they live in the blood vessels of the dogs’ heart, causing circulation problems, sickness and, ultimately, death.
The worms are transmitted by mosquitoes that bite a healthy dog after previously biting an infected dog, meaning the eggs live in the animals’ blood stream.
How to find out if your dog has worms
As many of the different parasites are asymptomatic, it’s important to get regular check-ups at the vet. Checks range from visual to blood samples being sent for testing.