How To Tell Your Dog Has Worms

How To Tell Your Dog Has Worms August 2, 2016

It’s a common problem that dogs and cats can frequently contract. Today, we take a look at worms in dogs and cats and get to the bottom of what they are. We answer questions like: How do pets become infected? How to tell your dog has worms? What is the best cure and prevention? Plus; we take an in-depth look at the types of worms, which can affect our pets.

They are the wriggly, little parasites that can leave a pet owner gasping for air, during the daily poo-patrol. Yes, that’s right, we are talking WORMS! It’s not a very nice topic, but it is a very important one when it comes to the health of your pet.

There are a few types of worms in dogs to be aware of. Some being more serious than others, but all can wreak havoc on your dog or cat. Remember, that many pups and kittens are actually born with worms; as the slippery, little suckers can pass through the placenta and even their mother’s milk. These are the four most common worms in dogs and cats:

This is one of the most common worms seen in many pups and kittens, as the worm can be transmitted through the milk they receive from their mums. These worms can affect dogs and cats of all ages, but are usually present in the younger generation. Hookworm larvae are found in soil, and after making contact, the worms will actually burrow up through the pads of the feet into the bloodstream. These little blood-suckers attach themselves to the wall of the intestine, which can lead to anaemia and diarrhoea. Untreated infestations can lead to death. So it is advisable to seek veterinary care immediately and put your pet on a full worming treatment. These worms are not typically seen by the naked eye; so if you notice your pet seeming unwell, it’s very important to seek medical treatment.

These worms also make a very common appearance in many kittens and puppies. The worms themselves are easily seen in the dog’s waste with some owners noting a spaghetti-like appearance in pups who are infested with roundworms. Unlike Hookworms, these little parasites do not suck-blood. They prefer to hang around in the intestinal track eating food and multiplying. Dogs with infestations will almost always show an interest in their itchy bottoms or design an inventive way to scratch, like scooting across the floor.

The flea tapeworm is another common type to affect our pet population and can be a little harder to eradicate. So seeking professional help with a good quality wormer will do the trick (a.k.a. visit your vet). Over-the-counter worm treatments can leave you still battling the issue; so have a chat with your vet. The tapeworm is caused by the ingestion of the flea-egg; which means keeping up with your flea and worm treatments are the best form of defence. Your pet may also ingest flea eggs after eating a rabbit or other wild animal. The tapeworm can vary in size, but your pet will generally have what looks like rice grains around their bottom or in their coat or faeces. Your pet may also lick or bite at their bottoms or scoot across the floor.

This long worm is, thankfully, not able to be transmitted from mother to pup or kitten. They love to hang around in the large intestine and can cause problems if left untreated. Pets become infected after drinking or eating contaminated food that contained whipworm eggs. The worms feed on the wall of the intestine and can cause inflammation and in extreme cases, anaemia.

Symptoms of Worm Infestation:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Pot belly or swollen belly
  • Not wanting to exercise and loss of interest in playing
  • Vomiting
  • Dull coat
  • Scooting across the floor (itchy bottom)
  • Worms or segments (rice grains) present in poop

Cure & Prevention
With all worm infestations, the best form of defence is prevention. Keeping your dog and cat’s worming regime up-to-date is important.

If you suspect that your dog is infected with one of the above worms, a quick call to your local vet will allow you to assess the situation. And receive the best medication that could eradicate the worms in your dog quickly. If you think your dog or cat is suffering from tapeworm, it is best to seek expert advice to ensure that the product you are using will effectively eradicate the worms.

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Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, one cat, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy (and let’s not forget the axolotls!); she simply adores pets of all shapes and sizes. These are her personal thoughts and advice from many years of pet-ownership and working within the pet industry.