It is common knowledge that dogs suffer from intestinal worms. Worm infestation, if unattended, can turn leading to physical discomfort and ill health. The nature and extent of illness your pet may suffer will depend on the type of worms, the degree of infestation and the age of your dog. Some of the most prominent worms that affect the dog are:
- Roundworms are the worms most commonly seen in dogs. They are white in color and grow abnormally long and are cylindrical shape. Adult worms reside in the intestines of dogs and puppies can become infected with roundworm larvae via the mother. Adult roundworms cause damage to the liver and lungs.
- Hookworms are perilous as they can burrow into your dog’s intestinal wall and they also have a tendency to suck blood. Hookworms are so called because they have a hook shape. Puppies can have the larvae passed on via their mother’s milk. Death can occur in puppies with severe infestation.
- Whipworm infestation begins when your dog ingests whipworm eggs from soil or faeces. When the eggs hatch, the larvae shift to your dog’s lower bowel to mature. Whipworms attach to the wall of the large intestine and suck tissue fluid.
- Tapeworms are flat-bodied worms made up of segments and they are the most common tapeworm found in dogs. Infestation is caused when your dog swallows a flea during its grooming, which contains young tapeworms. If fleas ingest the eggs, then the problem aggravates.
- Hydatid tapeworms live in the bowel of infected dogs, but are relatively harmless. The Hydatid tapeworm lifecycle continues by forming cysts in liver and lungs. Infection for dogs occurs when they eat sheep or cow offal that contains Hydatid cysts.
There are some known and proven ways to prevent worming of dogs:
- Puppies should be wormed right from 2 weeks of age and the deworming has to be done every 2 weeks till the dog becomes 12 weeks old. It can be once a month until the dog is 6 months old.
- Dogs aged over 6 months should be wormed at regular intervals of 3 months for the rest of its life
- Take care that your dog does not feed offal
- Use flea control on your dogs at least twice a week
- Ensure that the bedding is cleaned as often as possible
- Instantly remove dog faeces and thoroughly wash litter trays
- Wash your hands or use gloves when playing/feeding your dog
You can know that your dog is suffering from worm infestation if you notice symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss, flea infestation, an emaciated look, lethargy etc.
The saddest part is the entire matter of deworming of dogs is taken lightly by breeders and dog owners alike. There is callous neglect till the dog falls ill. It is essential that a proper deworming is done before a bitch is mated. If deworming is not done before mating, the bitch should be dewormed at least three weeks after mating.
Fleas are carriers of tapeworm eggs and cause infestation sometimes picked up from other animals, birds and rodents. Hence it is worthwhile to treat your dogs with a suitable insecticide.
Worms are not easy to prevent as there is no effective preventive treatment that will insulate your dog becoming infected. But, there are quite a few products available that will kill worms. Please bear in mind that that bulk of the oral worming products are effective at the time of use and do not have a prolonged effect.