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Saturday, 23 August 2008

How to Identify Symptoms of Dog Worms

There are five different types of intestinal dog worms, which your dog can be infested with. These include: heart worm, hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm and whip worm. It is recommended that you educate yourself on the different types of dog worms so as to be able to recognize the symptoms and characteristics, when they become evident in your dog.

Early worm detection is important because each type of dog worm requires a different form of treatment. You should also be fully aware of the fact that roundworm and hookworm can also be transmitted to humans. Some dog worm infestations may show little to no symptoms, whereas others can demonstrate severe symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea and weight loss. Some dog worms can be seen by the naked eye while some cannot, therefore it is a good idea to ask your vet to perform a stool test for dog worms once a year.

Below is a list of symptoms of dog worm infestation, but you should keep in mind that these symptoms can also be a sign of a more serious problem. Always consult a veterinarian whenever your dog is not behaving normal.

 Dull coat
 Weight loss
 Appetite loss
 Pot-bellied appearance
 Coughing
 Low energy level
 Diarrhoea
 Vomiting

Roundworms: This is the most common type of dog worm, which affects the intestines and causes a pot-bellied appearance, mostly in puppies. Puppies are often infected before birth through the mother’s uterus or through her milk. Puppies can also contract these dog worms through the ingestion of an infected animal (such as a rodent) or infected soil. The symptoms of a severe infestation are: pot-belly appearance, diarrhoea, vomiting, dull coat and weight loss.
Puppies should be de-wormed every 2 weeks between 2 and 12 weeks of age, then monthly until he/she is 6 months old. Once your puppy has reached 6 months of age, he/she is less susceptible to contracting these worms but should continue yearly exams (or more often if considered high-risk).

Hookworms: Hookworm harbours in the intestines and can also be transmitted to humans. Hookworms can affect a dog at any age. It is a small, thin dog worm that hooks on to the intestinal wall and sucks the blood from its victim, which causes anaemia and perhaps death. Due to their sharp teeth, they also cause bleeding in the intestines. Hookworms are not visible by the naked eye, therefore should be diagnosed by a vet.

• Tapeworms: The tapeworm derives its name from its long, flat, tape-like appearance. It is yet another parasite that affects the intestines, and like the roundworm, can be seen by the naked eye. Broken pieces of this dog worm would be found in the dog’s fecal matter, which give it a rice-like appearance. Common symptoms of severe tapeworm infestation are abdominal pain, nervousness, severe itching around the anus, vomiting and weight loss.

• Whip worm: Whip worms are long, thin whip-shaped dog worms that live in the dog's colon and are not visible by the naked eye. They attach themselves to the intestinal walls and feed off of them which, in turn, cause intestinal bleeding. Common symptoms of whip worm infestation are anaemia, weight loss, flatulence, diarrhoea with blood or mucus in the stool and lack of energy.
Although whip worms are the most difficult to eliminate among the families of dog worms, there is effective treatment available.

Heart worms: Heart worm, although highly preventable, has the potential to be fatal, if contracted and left untreated.
Heart worm is spread by mosquitoes, mostly during the warm months when mosquitoes are most active. The mosquito becomes infected from biting dogs that carry the disease. These dog worms destroy the muscle and tissue of the heart, which can cause congestive heart failure and result in death. At this advanced stage, your dog would experience the typical signs of worms, such as pot-belly, coughing, lack of energy and dull coat.

Unfortunately, there are no symptoms for this disease until it has progressed to an advanced stage.

Contact your vet if your dog displays any symptoms after receiving worm medication.

This information is NOT intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian.Please be advised that the information provided on this site is offered for research purposes only.

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