What are the Different Types of Dog Worms?

One of the main health problems for dogs are internal parasites. Although they produce many of the same symptoms, these are much more common in dogs than they are in humans. They are also much more detrimental to dogs, so it is important to detect and treat them early.

Symptoms of Worms

Although each type of worm is different, many of them have similar symptoms. These may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Changed appearance, especially with the coat
  • Scooting on or scratching the bottom
  • Lethargy
  • Stunted growth

Tapeworms

These long, segmented worms live in the small intestines and grow to be several feet long if not treated. They are contracted when your dog eats it in larval stage. This usually happens due to fleas or raw meat. Protecting your dog from fleas or uncontrolled hunting is the best way to prevent them.

If your dog has tapeworms, you will be able to see segments in your dog’s feces or even around its anus. In order to get rid of them, you must destroy the worm’s head, which requires a special deworming pill.

Roundworms

There are a few different types of roundworms. These are usually contracted when the dog eats feces or soil that contains the eggs. These worms and their eggs are not visible, so your vet will need to do a special examination in order to tell if one of these parasites is afflicting your dog.

Hookworms

Hookworms can be passed through a mother’s milk to her puppies, making it very dangerous for any dog, but especially young ones. Because they attach themselves onto the intestinal wall and suck the dog’s blood, they can be very dangerous and even fatal. Your dog might even require blood transfusions.

Whipworms

Whipworms, while not extremely dangerous, do have a very long life span and cycle. This means that they require almost constant treatment and deworming.

Ascarids

Some of these worms can be seen in your dog’s feces, so keep a look-out for long and spaghetti-ish worms. They are mostly common in puppies.

Heartworms

Unlike most roundworms, heartworms are transmitted not by ingestion, but by a mosquito bite. These worms live inside the blood vessels near and in the heart, causing severe damage and even death. They are very hard to treat, so talk to your vet each year about preventive measures.

Each year before mosquito season, take your dog to the vet for a blood test. If your dog tests negative for heartworms, your vet will help you come up with the best prevention plan for your dog. If already positive, treatments can include medication or surgery.