No pet parent ever envisions their hound could be playing host to a guest list of parasites intent on damaging or, worse, killing their furry family member! And yet, this is exactly the danger that canine intestinal worms present.
Unfortunately, of the myriad of health issues our furry friends are susceptible to, worms are also on the list. These parasites cause serious health issues such as anemia, weight loss and even death if left untreated. Worst of all, if you're unsure what to look for by the time you realize your dog has worms, the infestation could already be severe. Sadly, many pet lovers are unaware of the serious implications of an untreated worm infestation or how to prevent these horrible parasites from harming their pets.
Knowing what symptoms to watch for, the treatments available, and what preventative measures to take can help you stop these pesky parasites from appearing in the first place. Today's Mountain Hound blog will provide an overview of canine worms to help you keep your hound worm-free.
Symptoms of Canine Intestinal Worms
Worms are parasites that live, feed, and grow inside your dog's body; common symptoms of a worm infestation include:
- Weight loss
- Dull coat
You're probably mentally ticking off that list, thinking, nope, my hound doesn't have worms; whew, no need to panic. Until you read this next bit - some worm infestations have no visible symptoms! What? You heard correctly, but this doesn't mean you've lost the war against worms. Instead, performing regular stool (poop) checks and observing your dog's behavior for any unusual signs, including scooting, excessive butt licking or biting their tail area, can help you spot a worm infestation quite quickly.
How Canine Intestinal Worms Affect Your Hound's Internal Organs
Internal parasites, aka worms, are not a dog's best friend. In fact, they negatively impact your hound's organs (heart, lungs, digestive system), causing irritation and inflammation. As a result, your furry friend will struggle to digest their food and absorb the necessary nutrients needed to remain healthy.
Types of Worm Found in Dogs
Various types of worms, including tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms, can infect our canine companions.
- Tapeworms are typically transmitted through fleas.
- Roundworms and hookworms are found in contaminated soil or feces.
- Whipworms are most common in hounds that spend time outdoors
- Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites resulting in heartworm in dogs, a disease that can have serious implications if left untreated.
Scarily, some of these worms can also infect humans, making it essential to practice good hand hygiene and preventive measures.
Worm Preventative Measures
Maintaining good hound hygiene is the most effective way to prevent a worm infestation in our furry canines.
- Regularly clean your hound's bedding and dog bowls (food and water)
- Dispose of your hound's feces properly. Check out these biodegradable poop bags; they come with a lightweight holder!
- Keep your hound away from contaminated soil and feces.
- Deworm your dog regularly (usually every 3-6 months) to prevent infestations.
- Wash your hands after handling your hound; worms aren't picky about their host!
Most veterinarians will prescribe medications based on the worm infestation type and the condition's severity. Worm medications such as canine all-wormer tablets are usually given orally, or treatment can be given topically and, in some cases, by injection. Your vet might also recommend follow-up tests to ensure the complete eradication of the parasite.
Early detection and regular checkups with your veterinarian can help identify worm infestations and ensure effective treatment. Remember, a worm-free dog is a happy and healthy dog.