What are Intestinal Parasites?
Your pets are susceptible to several worms and parasites especially dogs and cats that can be found in their bodies and intestines. The Lifecycle of the parasites can survive in the environment for many years.
Some worms can be seen with the naked eye but others can be seen microscopic only, hence have to take your dog to the vet. The most common worms are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworm, and whipworms.
Among the four only Roundworm and tapeworm can be seen with a visible eye in your pet’s stool. This is why it is important for your vet to do a stool sample test to determine what worm is inside your dog or cat body. These worms are more common in dogs than cats.
Common Worms/ Intestinal Parasites in dogs
These are the common worm that lives in the intestines of your dog and can be contracted through contact with infected stools ingested by your dog.
Roundworms have long round bodies and range in size. Usually found in soil and stool and can enter your dog’s/cat body through the mouth or direct contact with its coat.
They feed on your dog intestines making your dog lose weight eventually. Roundworms make younger dogs more vulnerable because their immune systems are not fully mature yet.
Roundworms can be pass through mother to a puppy when nursing or while pregnant.
If your dog has roundworms, these are easy to see in their poop and vomit as they are visible to your naked eye. They are white or brown in colour so you can’t miss them.
A sick dog if near a baby who eats dirt might become sick if they ingest the roundworm eggs. These can cause serious diseases in a human as the eggs can turn into larvae that become encysted in various organs of the body.
Your dog can get hookworms from contaminated water or environment. These are blood-sucking parasites and live in the dog’s intestines. The life cycle of the hookworm has three stages: egg, larvae, and adult. The microscopic eggs pass through the feces, where they hatch into larvae and contaminate the environment.
The larvae can get through the dogs skin or through the mother’s milk.
Active worms leave bite sites and those sites continue to seep blood, can cause anemia or even death. They are no vaccination so fast treatment is essential.
Can have symptoms like vomiting, bloody diarrhea, constipation, coughing, unable to eat, pale appearance.
If not treated it can lead to death eventually, these cannot be seen with naked eye hence the stool sample is required by your vet. This will be check microscopically and treatment prescribed afterward by your vet.
Tapeworms are intestinal parasites and the most common tapeworm species is Dipylidium Caninum. When your dog ingests tapeworm eggs through fleas or eating birds or animals with them.
They settle into their stomach and develop to an adult tapeworm that is 28 inches in length. They are easy to treat and treatment is effective. They are several medicines that can be used effectively. Some pets can have reactive effects on medication like vomiting and diarrhoea.
Deworm your dog orally or through injection to kill the head tapeworm and remove it from the body to avoid reinfestation. You will be able to see segments of them in your dog’s stool.
Tapeworms are not usually harmful, and dogs rarely become ill as a result of an infestation, but weight loss may occur if he is heavily infected.
It’s important to use any drugs under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian. These medicines are used to kill the tapeworm but not the eggs hence hygiene should be observed to avoid reinfestation.
These worms look like tiny pieces of thread caused by a parasite called Trichuris trichiura.
They look like a whip hence the name as one end seems enlarged in the first section of your dog large intestine. They are mostly found in the cecum. When your dog swallows infested eggs in the soil, contaminated water or faeces they get whipworms.
Dogs suffering from this will have a stool with mucus and weight loss, bloody diarrhea, frequent defecation, abdominal pain, vomiting. If not treated this can be a problem for a dog and eventually lead to death.
Whipworm is common and your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-worm medication. These medications will kill the parasites in your dog’s system and help alleviate the symptoms.
Common anti-worm medications including febantel, fenbendazole, milbemycin, moxidectin, and should be taken as advised by your veterinarian
Symptoms of a Dog having Worms or Parasites
Close observation and changes in your dog physical can be able to tell you when your pet is having worms. These are the common symptoms they exhibit listed below.
- Weight loss
- Bloated tummy(roundworm multiplication)
- Dry hair
- Stool has blood
- Worms in stool
- Poor/ change in appearance
- One of the major ways that dogs can contract these worms is by ingesting faeces of infected animals, sometimes the larvae are dormant and activated when the dog is stressed.
- These larvae can be transferred to unborn puppies when the mother is pregnant.
- Nursing pets can get worms from infected mothers milk.
- Dogs that eat wild animals and ticks/fleas can get tapeworms while feeding.
Solutions can be given recommended from a vet, but not all solutions help in treating different worms.
The veterinarian can describe the best wormer over the counter medicine depending on the type of worm. Some counter medicines are very effective all you have to do is follow the advice given by your veterinarian.
Adhere to strict sanitation principles, keep the environment clean from the kennel, wire cage and get a poop scooper for the faeces collection.
Puppies should routinely be treated for roundworms as soon as they are born.
Although dog owners with a pregnant dog can request their vet to start deworming treatment. This can be done during pregnancy if safe to reduce transmission.