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Look Out for Worms in Dogs

2016/5/4 10:32:01

Responsible dog owners should understand the consequences of worms in dogs and the potential harm they can cause to people too. A type of internal parasite, worms in dogs can cause ill health in both humans and dogs.

All too often, there are no obvious outward signs of ill health until the worms in dogs have already caused damage. Although worms in dogs are very often hard to spot, the symptoms to look out for are general loss of condition, sickness and diarrhoea as well. There are two types of common worms in dogs: roundworms and tapeworms.


Pale white or beige in colour, roundworms look as though they are coiled like a spring and may grow up to be 100mm long. They might be visible in your pet's faeces or vomit. Roundworm larvae find their way into the dog's body when they are ingested and adult worms then develop inside the dog's body.The eggs are then passed out in faeces, allowing the worm's life cycle to be completed. Unfortunately, the most common roundworm to affect dogs is known as the Toxocara Canis and it can affect people, particularly children. If children ingest the eggs through contact with contaminated soil and through poor hand hygiene which is very common in children, the larvae can migrate through their bodies. Should the larvae reach the eyes, they have the potential to cause serious damage to the eyesight. This is one of the main reasons why dog owners should always pick up after their pet, washing their hands thoroughly afterwards.


You may be able to see evidence of tapeworms in your dog's faeces or around his anus: they look like flat segments filled with what look like moving grains of rice but that are actually eggs. Dogs become infected with tapeworms by swallowing fleas carrying their larvae whilst grooming themselves. An adult worm inside the dog can grow to be as long as 5 metres.

In keeping with the general rule of thumb for any health problem, prevention is of course, better than cure for worms in dogs. Therefore worming your dog every three months is important. Young puppies require worming even more regularly than that: ask a vet to advise on the frequency of worming reccommended for your puppy. Many effective wormers are available from pet shops and veterinary surgeries at affordable prices: ask your vet for the most appropriate one.

More information on worms in dogs can be found by visiting the wonderful Pet Health Information website which is a free resource offering information for owners of all types of pets.