Battle of the Gut: Intestinal Worms and Your Dog

Dogs can bring a lot of joy and comfort to a family, and in return for their unconditional love, owners keep them healthy with regular veterinarian visits, annual vaccines, and intestinal deworming. While fleas and ticks are the more obvious pests that can bother your pet, intestinal worms are also a nuisance that should be addressed. Intestinal worms can cause health issues that will only be resolved with a proper deworming protocol. While you can still visit your vet, online shopping for dewormers can work in an emergency situation when the hospital may not be open. Owners now have the convenience to buy dog worming products online that can be used until a visit to the veterinarian. Read on to learn more about intestinal worms and how they are diagnosed, treated and prevented.

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The Worms and the Ways They Infect

Dogs can get infected with intestinal worms in a variety of ways. The most common way dogs become infected is coming into contact with the worm or its eggs in the environment. The parasite starts its life cycle in the soil where an infected dog has passed egg-filled feces, and when a dog ingests this soil, they become infected. Dogs that enjoy chasing wildlife like squirrels and rabbits can contract these worms by eating the remains of an infected small animal. Young puppies can either be born with certain worms or pick them up while nursing from an infected mom.

Some of these worms can also infect cats and humans, especially young children and the elderly, making prevention and treatment incredibly important. The most common types of intestinal worms include:

  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Whipworms

The Signs of Worms in Your Dog

Sometimes, a dog with worms will not have any symptoms of a problem, but when signs do develop, they generally involve irritation to the stomach and intestines. Common clinical signs can include the following:

  • Visible worms in the stool (roundworms and tapeworms only)
  • Diarrhea with or without blood
  • Vomit which may contain worms
  • Weight Loss
  • Young puppies with bloated bellies

More severe infestations can lead to breathing issues, and if the intestinal worm feeds on blood, it can cause anemia, which is a loss of red blood cells.

The Diagnosis and Treatment of Worms

While intestinal worms may be visible in the stool, the best method to diagnose is getting a fecal sample floatation performed by your veterinarian. The veterinarian will examine the fecal sample at a microscopic level, looking for eggs or larvae of the suspected worm. Once a positive diagnosis is made, your veterinarian can prescribe or recommend a dewormer.

Dewormers come in both liquid and tablet forms, but they do not all work the same. While a certain dewormer may treat a bad roundworm infection in a puppy, that same dewormer can have no effect on a whipworm infection. By getting a proper diagnosis, you can save time and money on treatments. Much like antibiotics, dewormers should be given as advised since missing doses or giving inadequate amounts can prolong an infection. After treatment, a second fecal sample may be necessary to confirm a pet is recovered and does not need additional treatments.

The Prevention of Worms

Once a pet has been treated for intestinal worms, it is best to make a fecal exam part of the annual checkup your veterinarian performs. It should also be noted that during these annual visits, the monthly heartworm medications recommended by your veterinarian may have a component that prevents intestinal worms as well.

Intestinal worms don’t have to be a hassle or a health concern. By recognizing the signs in your pet and administering the proper deworming product, you not only protect your pet but your family as well.

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