roundworm in dogs

Canine Worms

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Dogs often become infected with worms. Intestinal parasites can cause major health issues for your dog or puppy. Roundworm infestation is very common in puppies. Tapeworms are usually suspected of infecting your dog when infestations of fleas are a problem.

You can see evidence of tapeworm without using a microscope. There are other types of worms that can’t be detected by the naked eye, including whipworm and hookworms.

It’s vital the type and any presence of intestinal parasites are diagnosed as early as possible because different worm types often require varied forms of treatment. You need to take your dog’s stool samples to your vet so he can look at them under the microscope to see if worms are present. Most vets will check stool samples when they do an annual exam.

Worms can cause a range of problems such as: dry hair, weight loss, diarrhoea (sometimes with blood in it), an unhealthy overall look, and also vomiting (worms may be present in the actual vomit.

However, there are some worms that cause minimal or no symptoms at all. Sometimes worm eggs will lay dormant within the body of your dog and will only get activated when he’s stressed or if it’s roundworms, in the end stage of pregnancy, where they become active and infest the puppies before they’re even born.


Canine WormsRoundworms can be found active in a puppy’s intestines, where they may cause poor growth and a pot-belly look. These worms can be in the stool or vomit. If a puppy has severe infestation, it can cause the intestines to become blocked and this may prove fatal.

This worm may grow as long as seven inches. One female may create 200,000 eggs per day. These eggs have a hard shell and can live in soil for many years. Dogs can get infected if they ingest the eggs from soil that’s contaminated. The eggs hatch in the dog’s intestine and the larva get into the lungs from the bloodstream.

The larva crawl up the dog’s windpipe and are then swallowed, causing a gag or cough in the dog. The larva return to his intestine where they eventually turn into adults.

Roundworms usually don’t infect adult dogs. However, the larvae may exist in the adult bitch’s tissues and only become activated prior to birth. Worming the bitch won’t affect the larvae and won’t stop the puppy infection.

Most breeders worm litters of puppies very 2 weeks to ensure the health of litters. Untreated puppies have been known to die from severe roundworm infestation. When buying a puppy always ask the breeder to provide a written record of all worming treatments given to the puppy. The breeder’s worming record should be given to your Veterinarian for his records and as a reference guide for future worming requirements.

Roundworm may be treated by using an over-the-counter worming product sold in pet shops. However, consulting your vet is the best way to learn how to deal with worms and also to give the appropriate medication. Deworming products are highly toxic to worms but may also cause your dog to become ill if incorrectly used.


Hookworms are very small and they connect to the small intestine’s wall and suck the dog’s blood. Dogs get hookworm when they make contact with contaminated soil and the larvae inside it. Similar to roundworms, the larvae of the hookworm grows into adulthood whilst in the dog’s intestine. Puppies may get this as well whilst in the female dog’s uterus and she can infect her puppies through her milk.

A severe hookworm infestation may kill puppies but a chronic infection generally won’t harm adults. If it happens, symptoms include: weight loss, diarrhoea, progressive weakness and anaemia. The faeces are examined by the vet to diagnose this worm.


Tapeworm spreads to dogs that ingest fleas or those who hunt and then eat infested wildlife. Dogs will shed parts of the tapeworm that have the eggs via their faeces. These parts are usually flat and will move a little once excreted. They resemble rice grains and may be found stuck to hair near the dog’s anus or in his stool. Over-the-counter remedies won’t kill tapeworm so the vet is your only option.


Adults resemble pieces of thread with an enlarged end. They live in the dog’s cecum, the first part of his big intestine. As infestations are usually light, a faecal exam may not detect the eggs. The vet might have to do several checks before making the right diagnosis.


Some worms that cause infestations in dogs can also affect people so it’s critical to eliminate the worms from the environment as well. Faeces should be removed from your back yard daily. Purchase a vermicide from the vet and also get your dog’s faeces checked regularly if problems persist. Never mix wormers and don’t use a wormer if your dog is on any other medications (including heartworm prevention) without asking your vet.

When you walk your dog in a park or around your local streets, take a small plastic bag to collect any of his faeces so he isn’t contributing to soil contamination. In addition to the fact it is  illegal in many places to not clean up after your dog,  social etiquette and common sense necessitate the immediate removal of  your dog’s faeces in any public place.

Your Veterinarian will be able to advise you on the correct wormer and dosage for your dog.

Canine Worms

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