Ensuring your dog is properly protected against intestinal worms is essential for their health. There are hundreds of different products on the market to worm your dog with and it can be quite daunting trying to decide which is best for you and your pet. With a little background on the different types of intestinal worm and how they infect your pet hopefully we can make the decision a little easier for you!
WHAT WORMS CAUSE:
- Irritated hind end and scooting
- Blood in faeces
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Nutritional deficiencies and anaemia
- Pot-bellied appearance
- Intestinal blockage
The types of worms that can infect your dog include hookworms, roundworms, whipworm and tapeworm.
ROUNDWORMS – are usually white or light brown in colour, can be a few inches long and look like Spaghetti. They are some of the most common intestinal worms in dogs. Many puppies are born with roundworms which have been transmitted from their Mother. Hence the importance that new puppies receive regular and appropriate worming. Puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 3 months old, then monthly until they are 6 months old. From then on frequency depends on the product chosen.
HOOKWORMS – anchor themselves in the small intestine, ingesting large amounts of blood from the tiny blood vessels in the intestinal wall. Although only a few millimetres long, large numbers can cause inflammation and anaemia – often more commonly seen in puppies.
WHIPWORMS – as their name suggests; look exactly like little whips, with a thick section up one end. They latch on to the large intestine and similar to the hookworm ingest the host’s blood. Whipworms can survive for years in the host and can cause severe irritation resulting in chronic watery bloody diarrhoea and weight loss.
TAPEWORMS – are the largest and most often overlooked worm, with many products NOT protecting against them. Many commonly used combination products, such as Advocate, Revolution, Sentinel and NexGard do NOT treat tapeworms. Therefore an additional tapeworm tablet needs to be used in addition to these products every 3 months.
There are three different types of tapeworm that can infest your dog, including Taenia and Echinococcus species, and the most common, Dipylidium caninum. Dog’s contract Dipylidium caninum by ingesting fleas that carry the worm larvae, hence the importance of staying up to date not only with worm prevention but flea prevention too! Taenia and Echinococcus species are acquired if your dog likes to catch and eat wild rabbits, rodents or if they have access to dead livestock. In dog’s such as this, they should be wormed more regularly for tapeworms, ideally every 6 weeks.
Adult tapeworms are large flatworms that look like ribbons or fettuccine pasta. If your dog has tapeworms will shed segments of them in their faeces that look like grains of rice.
It is very important to note that humans can be infected by all of these worms, so it’s not only for your pet’s safety but for your family’s safety that you get worming right (Finding out you have parasitic worms living inside of you shouldn’t be on anyone’s bucket list!).
If you would like to ensure you are using an appropriate worming protocol for your dog please call the team at Lilydale Vet Centre for a chat.