Worms are internal parasites that live inside the body. There are different types of worms that can affect your dog, the most common are the roundworm and the tapeworm. Their is also a very small organism called Toxoplasma gondii that infects humans as well. We also see more and more dogs affected with lungworms. They cause coughing and general fatigue.
How can I tell if my dog has worms?
Roundworms can be passed out in the faeces or puppies can vomit them up. Tapeworms may cause an itchy bottom and often small tapeworm segments can be seen moving around the anus. They look like small white rice grains.
Why should I worm my dog?
If a dog is heavily infected with roundworms, it may have a poor coat and bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting. Puppies can have a blockage of the intestines that could be fatal. Other organs can become affected such as the lungs. One of the roundworm species – Toxocara canis does pose a danger to humans. If a person digests a roundworm egg, it can develop internally and migrate as a larva through the body. Children are at the most risk and the larva could cause blindness. Roundworm eggs can remain infectious in the ground for many years which is why the faeces must be picked up and disposed of and your dog should be wormed regularly. Tapeworms in dogs may not produce any symptoms but a heavy burden can cause anaemia, indigestion and constipation.
How can I prevent my dog from getting worms?
We are able to advise you on the best way to treat your pet for worms. Products can be purchased in tablet, powder, liquid or paste form. They should be treated for worms regularly throughout the whole of their lives. A puppy starts worming every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old and then monthly until they are 6 months old and then every 3 months. In addition, it is advisable to use an effective flea treatment because the flea is involved in the life cycle of the commonest tapeworm found in the dog.The dog can catch tapeworms through eating infected fleas!