Worms in dogs seem to be one of those dog health care problems that return.  This is because their lifecycle is designed to be hard to break. Given that worms in dogs can cause health problems in both dogs and humans, owners have a responsibility to interrupt the cycle and try to keep it broken.

Because most puppies are born with an infestation of roundworm, this is the most common type of dog worm in the UK. This infestation often causes puppies’ abdomens to become distended and may delay their growth whilst in humans it has the potential to cause blindness.

Like all types of worms in dogs, the life cycle of the dog roundworm (the Toxocara Canis) is not complex and can be controlled with care and patience. At first, a female puppy is infected in the womb or through her mother’s milk. Then, in the infected puppy, some worm larvae will migrate through the intestine wall, into the bloodstream and into muscles where they will form cysts which cannot be destroyed. In the event of pregnancy in later life, the larvae will be reactivated and will move through the blood to infect the puppies.

In young puppies, some of the larvae will not form the above mentioned cysts. Instead they will mature to adulthood in the intestine. After feeding on the part-digested contents of the intestine and reaching maturity, the adult worm releases eggs which are passed with the dog’s faeces. In the environment, the eggs pose an infection risk to other dogs and even humans. For people it is the touching of contaminated soil rather than the handling of puppies which poses an infection risk.

There you have the cycle: to break it adult dogs muct be treted every three months. Because of puppies’ predisposition to this type of worms in dogs, they should be treated every two weeks between the ages of two and twelve weeks and once a month thereafter until they are six months old. However small and rare, worms in dogs can cause problems for human health, so dog owners must take responsibility for picking up after their dogs and encouraging good hand hygiene in the family, in order to break the cycle and reduce the risk.

| RSS feed for comments on this post

Comments are closed.