Look Out For Worms in Dogs

Responsible dog owners should understand the consequences of worms in dogs and the potential harm they can cause to people too. Worms in dogs can cause ill health in both canines and humans: they are internal parasites.

Although worms in dogs can be damaging, there are often no outward signs of ill health until the worms are already damaging the dog’s health. Worms in dogs are difficult to spot, but be alert for general loss of condition, sickness and diarrhoea. The two types of worms in dogs are roundworms and tapeworms.

Roundworms

Roundworms can appear to be coiled in the shape of a spring, can grow to around 10cm in length and are pale white or beige coloured. You may be able to see them in your pet’s faeces or vomit. Roundworm larvae find their way into the dog’s body when they are ingested and adult worms then develop inside the dog’s body. The eggs are then passed out in faeces, allowing the worm’s life cycle to be completed. Unfortunately, the most common roundworm to affect dogs is known as the Toxocara Canis and it can affect people, particularly children.If children ingest the eggs through contact with contaminated soil, the larvae can migrate through their bodies. Should the larvae reach the eyes, they have the potential to cause serious damage to the eyesight. This is just one of the reasons why it is so very important to clean up after your dog.

Tapeworms

You may be able to see evidence of tapeworms in your dog’s faeces or around his anus: they look like flat segments filled with what look like moving grains of rice but are actually eggs. Dogs become infected with tapeworms when they swallow fleas whilst grooming because fleas carry tapeworm larvae. An adult worm inside the dog can be as long as 5 metres.

In keeping with the general rule of thumb for any health problem, prevention is better than cure for worms in dogs. It is therefore important to ensure your dog is wormed every three months. Worming should be carried out even more regularly than that in young puppies. Many effective wormers are available from pet shops and veterinary surgeries at affordable prices: ask your vet for the most appropriate one.

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