When Dog Worms Hit Our TysonTyson, our 5-year old German Shepherd, startled my Dad one morning. He was lying flat on the ground, looking ill. He had diarrhea and wouldn't eat.
My Dad got worried so he quickly took our dog to the veterinarian for a check-up. The vet performed a test on a stool sample from Tyson and what he found was alarming! Our poor dog was infested with worms.
Most dog worms are parasites that reside in a dog's intestines. They can cause adverse effects on the animal's health and it is important that you know enough about dog worms in order to protect your dog.
Types of Dog Worms
The most common types of worms that can infect dogs are: roundworms; hookworms; whipworms; and tapeworms.
Roundworms stay in the small intestine and they feed on the tissues and bodily fluids of dogs. There are two kinds of roundworms: Toxocara canis (which can grow to 10-18 cm long) and Toxascaris leonina (which can grow to 6-10 cm long). Between the two, Toxocara canis is more dangerous because it can cause fatal infections in puppies and its larvae can also cause disease in humans.
Like roundworms, hookworms live in the small intestine of dogs. Despite their small size (5 to 16 mm long), hookworms are potentially fatal because they voraciously feed on blood from the intestinal wall. They can cause severe blood loss, especially in puppies, which can lead to anemia and/or death within a short period of time.
Adult whipworms, as their name suggests, are shaped like whips and they can grow to 4-7 mm long. They live in the large intestine and the appendix of a dog. Whipworms feed on tissue secretions but due to their feeding and burrowing activities, they can also cause significant blood loss.
Tapeworms are flat in appearance. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the most common tapeworm in dogs is the flea tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum, which can grow to 15- 70 cm long. Dogs usually catch this parasite from fleas. This and other types of tapeworms can also infect humans.
Once the vet identified the worms infecting Tyson's body, he recommended that Tyson be put on worming medication for treatment.
There is currently a wide range of worming medications pet owners can choose from in the market. Depending on the active ingredients contained in each medication, they can treat and protect the dog from specific parasites. Worming medications like Drontal Plus, which contains a combination of pyrantel, febantel and praziquantel can get rid of roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms simultaneously. If a dog is infected with tapeworms, worming medications that contain praziquantel (Droncit and Pet Shed's Generic Tapeworm alternative) can treat the pet for these parasites. Meanwhile, treatments that have milbemycin or a combination of ivermectin and pyrantel can kill some intestinal parasites and also heartworms. Examples are Sentinel, Interceptor, and Heartgard Plus.
Protection against Worms
After a period of treatment, Tyson was able to fully recover. Since then, Dad has always made sure that Tyson is free from worms through regular worming (maintenance and prevention), once every three months. Today, he is a picture of a healthy and active dog, no longer suffering from the problems caused by intestinal parasites.
Like what happened to Tyson and my Dad, you can also help protect your dog from worms. How about you, what do you use to treat worms in your dog?