Dog worms - Has your dog been infected?
Here's the thing about dogs. First, they forage for food - just like many animals. Second, they'll eat just about anything, including feces. Because of these two traits, dogs are very prone to developing worms - worms which can make them sick and even kill them. This includes heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.
So how can you tell if your dog is suffering from any of these worms? Here are the worms that are most likely to infest your dog and their symptoms.
Hookworms are usually found in dog feces. If your dog has a habit of eating feces, watch for this illness. The symptoms of hookworms include loose stool or blood in the stool, bloating, gas, and an unusual appetite. Also, the dog's coat may become duller.
Roundworms are caused when the dog ingests the egg of the roundworm. Also puppies can become infected through their mother. Signs to look for that your dog has roundworms include vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and an unusual appetite.
Heartworms most often come from mosquitoes. This usually occurs during the warmer months when dogs are exposed to these pests. Heartworms are very dangerous and, if left untreated, can actually kill your dog. Symptoms to watch out for include lethargy, coughing, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing. You might also notice that your dog is becoming more tired than usual after exercise. This condition needs to be treated immediately by a vet.
Tapeworms occur when dogs eat fleas. While this may not be a pleasant exercise, you should regularly check the dog's rectum to see if there are any white, rice-like parasites in the area. If you, the dog is almost sure to have tapeworms. Symptoms of these worms include an inability to digest food, weight loss, and stomach pain.
Whipworm occurs when dogs eat worm-infested feces or when they step in feces and then lick their paws. A dog with whipworm will often have a bloody stool, an unusual appetite, and will become bloated, experience cramps, and have a dull coat.
Other conditions that can affect your dog's health include Coccidia which are parasites caused by ingesting feces. Symptoms of this disease include loose stool, vomiting, loss of weight, and bloating.
Another parasite which can affect pups is called Giardia. These parasites are found mostly in areas where there is a lot of water. The ingestion of Giardia can cause loose stool, loss of weight, and bloating.
The key is early detection
Early detection is the key to treating these illnesses. If your dog displays any of the symptoms listed in this article, be sure to get it to your vet for a checkup. Also, make sure your dog receives regular check-ups as this gives your vet the opportunity to check for worms and other conditions by taking stool samples.
It is always better to err on the side of caution and carefully watch your dog's behavior and habits. If they change in any way, make an appointment with your vet to get the problem diagnosed and treatment started immediately.