Dog Worms: What's The Big Deal?

Miss Debra Rae

Dogs get worms. These are not the fishing kind or the brown ones found in super soil. These worms are parasites and live inside your dog. They feed off your dog and make them very sick.

Some worms are zoonotic and can be transferred to humans. Be especially mindful of worms if your dog is ever around children. Children often will allow a dog or puppy to lick their face and if your dog has worms, has recently licked themselves and then "kissed" a human, the worms could transfer over. Worms in humans can cause blindness, fatigue, immune dysfunction and anemia.

One of the most common dog worms is the roundworm. These creatures live in the intestines. If not treated, they can causepot belly and stunt the growth of a puppy. These worms look like spaghetti and sometimes show up in feces or vomit. If you see these spaghetti roundworms, don't touch them. Put a baggie around your hand, pick them up and throw them away. Sterilize the area with some bleach water and get your dog to a Veterinarian for treatment.

Another type of worm is the hookworm. These parasites set up house in your dog's small intestine and feed off of their blood. Hookworms can be caught from contaminated soil and not just stepping into or ingesting infected dog feces. These blood suckers, if not treated, can cause anemia, intestinal bleeding, diarrhea and severe abdominal pain.

Hookworms are zoonotic (transferable to humans) and are commonly referred to as "cutaneous larva migrans." In other words, these worms creep/migrate just under the human skin causing all sorts of problems. These cannot be seen by the naked eye. To be diagnosed requires a fecal test and microscopic viewing.

Tapeworms are another intestinal parasite. Your dog picks up these body buddies from eating fleas who are carriers of this worm. Dogs that live in rural areas and/or hunt, often eat wildlife that have fleas who carry the tapeworm. Tapeworms look like rice and show themselves in your dog's feces and around their anus. If you see these worms, get your dog in for treatment.

Whipworms are another parasite that can infest your dog and can only be seen under a microscope. These hearty worms require special treatment. The regular "Drontal" dewormer will not kill these fellas. Whipworms can cause severe diarrhea, flatulence, weight loss and a dog who generally doesn't feel well.

Heartworms are another real threat for your canine family member. These killer worms are carried around by mosquitoes. If your dog is bitten by a carrier mosquito and has not been protected by "Heartgard" or other heartworm preventatives, death is a very real possibility. At the least, heartworm treatment is very expensive and not always successful.

The bottom line is worms are treatable and preventable. .

All puppies need to be de-wormed several times over a few months beginning with their first Veterinary visit. All adult dogs need a worm fecal test at least once a year at their annual physical check up.

If you suspect your dog has worms, get a fecal test. A typical cost for this is about $15-20. If your dog does have worms, treatment is very affordable.

One of the best ways to prevent worms is "Heartgard". This incredible creation, when used as directed, prevents heartworms, hookworms and roundworms. Put your dog on "Heartgard" for life. It just may save it.

Prevention and treatment of worms is easy, affordable and your precious dog is worth it. If you have questions or concerns about worms, please talk with your Veterinarian or Veterinary Technician.

About The Author: Miss Rae has been a poet & writer since college at UW, class of 1996. Click on over to her site for all your dog's needs from training programs and nutrition to choosing a vet, dental health and books galore.



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