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Dealing with Worms and Your Dog

Jun 8, 2008
Every dog owner and their pet at some point runs into both the actual problem of having worms and the threat of getting worms.

It is estimated that the majority of worm cases go unchecked for a period of three months or more, which is why it is important to have a talk with your vet and see what worm prevention is needed and how often. It is also important to note that not every case of worms is confined to dogs only, there are cases where the worms have been transferred to humans; and commonly with small children in the household.

There are five different types of worms that you need to be aware of as a responsible dog owner.

1. Roundworms: Infects dogs through ingestion, to pup's through mother's milk and also can cross through the placenta. These worms can reach up to 19cm in length. Signs of having roundworms are: diarrhea, swollen stomach, vomiting, pneumonia and coughing. Infections can be fatal if gone unchecked.

2. Flea Tapeworm: Infects dogs through ingestion or through infected fleas. These worms can reach up to 50 cm in length. Signs are itching, swelling and general irritation around the anus.

3. Hookworms: Infects dogs through their environment; can be ingested or come through the skin of the dog's legs and or paws. These worms can reach up to 19cm in length. Signs are weight loss, tar like diarrhea, dehydration, lack of appetite and swollen stomach. Infections can become fatal if gone unchecked.

4. Hydatid Tapeworm: Infects the dog through ingestion or through the skin. These worms can reach up to 7 mm in length. There are no clear signs of infection in dogs; however humans can be infected through swallowing the eggs from either the coats of their dogs or from feces.

5. Whipworms: Infects the dog only when swallowed. These worms can reach up to 7 cm in length. Signs are pale eyelids, pale gums, dehydration, weight loss and bloody diarrhea.

There are things that you can do at home to help keep the environment clean and free from worms. If you have an indoor potty pad or other system of indoor elimination for your pet dispose of feces as quickly as possible and keep the area clean. Keep all sleeping areas, yours and your dogs as clean as possible.

Do not feed your dog any offal use only quality cooked meats when giving your dog something other than dry food. Also, make sure that you and anyone else in the household washes their hands thoroughly after petting or playing with the dog and before eating their own food.

Talk with your vet about a prevention worming program and in conjunction with keeping the home tidy, both you and your dog should be worm free.
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