Roundworms in dogs

Worms in Dogs: Why Regularly Worming Your Pet Is Part of Responsible Pet Ownership

Protecting Pets and Humans From Worms in Dogs

When we talk about worms in dogs we are using a term to describe several internal parasitic infections that our pets are prone to. Worms in dogs can be treated with preparations bought from the pet shop or the vet’s and this should be done regularly. Worming a dog is a very important part of responsible pet ownership.

There are two types of infections of worms in dogs which are common in the UK. They are known as roundworms and tapeworms. Unfortunately, roundworms are very hard to avoid as many puppies are infected at birth. This underlines the importance of worming our dogs regularly, especially during puppyhood.

Whilst roundworms will not show symptoms in some dogs, they can have much more serious consequences than other worms in dogs. Adult roundworms live in the dog’s intestine and eats the contents. This effectively means that the roundworms eat your dog’s food! In severe cases, there can be several roundworms inside one dog. This is why in severe cases of infection, dogs will appear malnourished, tired and have a dull coat.

Roundworms can remain dormant in cysts inside the muscles of adult dogs. They then reawaken later on, often at times of stress. It is very common for them to be awoken by pregnancy, prompting them to migrate around the body and infect the unborn puppies. Treating the pregnant dog for worms will not rid the puppies of their infestation. This is why worms in dogs are such a big problem to new born puppies.

Adult worms release eggs which are passed with the dog’s faeces, contaminating soil. Then toehr dogs pick up the eggs from the soil. However, the most common roundworm in the UK, the Toxocara Canis can also infect children when they touch contaminated soil or sand pits. Worm larvae can migrate around the child’s body and will cause irreparable eye damage is they reach the retina. Regular treatment for worms in dogs is therefore vital for responsible dog ownership.

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Worms in Dogs: Protect the Whole Family

In the UK, worms in dogs are a common issue. They can lead to ill health and distress in our pets and can re-infest them at any time. Across the entire world there are many types of parasites which are grouped under the term ‘worms in dogs’ but in the UK we deal primarily with just two. These are the tapeworm and the roundworm.

Roundworms cause difficulties when they are passed from one dog to another and more so when most puppies are born with an infestation. This type of worm resembles short lengths of spaghetti. Fully mature worms live in the dog’s intestines and feed off its contents. This means that the partially digested food is eaten by the worms, forcing your dog to share its dinner. The amount of worms present depends on whether the infestation is very severe or not, but it is possible that dozens of worms could be present at any one time. Obviously when a dog is sharing its food with dozens of parasites it is not uncommon for it to become undernourished. Severe infestations can lead to loss of energy and a dull coat. Other symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting. In puppies, roundworms may cause a distended abdomen and delayed growth. Untreated roundworm infestations could actually kill a puppy by blocking their intestines. However, do remember that worms in dogs do not always cause the appearance of symptoms. Regular worming treatment should still be used.

In adult dogs, some worm larvae can migrate around the body, settling in muscles and forming cysts. In this form, even worming treatment cannot remove the larvae. The larvae has the ability to lie dormant in the adult dog’s body until a time of stress reactivates them. They normally become active during pregnancy and infest unborn puppies by migrating to the womb. This means it is very important to worm all puppies.

Worms in dogs can actually cause problems for people as well. Children are especially at risk because they are more likely to come into contact with worm eggs in soil whilst playing. Worm larvae can migrate through the child’s body and have been known to cause lasting eye damage if settling near the back of the eye. Regular worms in dogs treatment therefore protects the whole family and not just our pets.

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