Dog worms: Roundworm identifying dog worms, Causes and Treatment

Types of Dog worms

worms in dog poop, If there are some known intestinal parasites in dogs, they are called worms. Most are associated with the gastrointestinal system, but in this article, in addition to talking about the different types of worms in dogs housed in the digestive system, we will mention those that parasitize other organs such as the lungs, the heart, or the eyes. 

We recall the importance of following a correct deworming schedule throughout the dog’s life since this type of parasite can be especially problematic in the case of puppies. 

Intestinal worms in dogs

Among the types of worms in dogs, those that infest the digestive system stand out. They are ubiquitous. They affect a high percentage of dogs, and, in addition, some species can also parasitize humans. The following types stand out: 

  • Flatworms or cestodes: the best known of this group is the tapeworm. As its name suggests, its body is flattened and divided into multiple segments. Some can be seen around the anus and the base of the tail as small grains of rice. A species called Dipylidium caninum is transmitted to the dog through fleas. 
  • Roundworms or nematodes: in this group, the most important are Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina. It is a worm similar in appearance to spaghetti, which is sometimes found in feces or vomit. It is a type of earthworm that is spread to humans when it comes into contact with the soil where eggs are found. The example of children who contract these parasites when playing with dirt and putting their hands to their mouths is typical. 
  • Hookworm: are hookworms, which are named for the shape of their mouth, which adhere to the intestinal walls and feed on blood and tissues. They can also be transmitted to humans. They enter the body through the skin. 
  • Whipworms: they are whipworms, such as Trichuris vulpis. They are called a whip because of their shape, with one end thicker than the other. They attach themselves to the walls and ingest blood. Their eggs are exceptionally hardy in the environment, which makes them difficult to remove. 

Pulmonary worms in dogs 

In addition to the best-known types of roundworms or intestinal worms, these parasites can also be found in the lungs. 

It is also possible that intestinal worms, in their cycle within the dog’s body, end up in the lungs, in which case respiratory symptoms will appear, in addition to digestive ones. The stands out Angiostrongylus vasorum, which is transmitted by contact with slugs and snails

Worms in the heart of dogs 

Another location of this type of worm is the heart. It is Dirofilaria immitis which is transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes. It is a disease on the rise because climate change increases global temperatures, which offers good living conditions for these mosquitoes, increasing their population and making contagion more likely. 

These worms live in the right ventricle of the heart and the pulmonary arteries. In large infestations, they are also found in the right atrium, vena cavae, and hepatic veins. 

Eyeworms in dogs 

Finally, a type of worm in dogs that is perhaps more unknown is that of eyeworms. The Thelazia is located in the eyes. It is transmitted by small flies typical of fruit trees, and they increase in the warmer months. 

They take advantage of the animals’ ocular secretions, being how they come into contact with the dogs and transmit the parasites to them. Humans can be affected. 

At this point, you may also be interested in this other article on Eye Diseases in Dogs, where we explain how to distinguish this from other diseases or infections.

Symptoms of worms in dogs 

Depending on the types of worms, we can observe different symptoms. These are the most prominent, grouped by systems: 

Symptoms of pinworms in dogs 

In this case, the symptoms are caused by the action of parasites on the digestive system. The effect is, above all: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Bloody stools 
  • Anal itching 

In this regard, it is worth mentioning that it is normal for adult dogs to have intestinal parasites without showing any symptoms. On the other hand, in puppies, especially in significant infestations, it is not surprising that, in addition to the symptoms above, the following occurs: 

  • Swollen abdomen 
  • Slimming 
  • The sinister appearance of the coat. 
  • Anemia
  • Pale mucous membranes. 
  • Malnutrition. 
  • Stunting

Symptoms of lungworms in dogs 

When they lodge or pass through the lungs, as happens with some intestinal worms, these types of worms trigger respiratory symptoms, such as: 

  • Tos. 
  • Sickness. 
  • Pneumonia. 
  • Slimming 
  • Exercise intolerance 
  • Clotting problems 

However, in some cases, lungworms in dogs can be asymptomatic

Symptoms of heartworms in dogs 

Occupying the heart and its communications with the lungs and liver can have severe, fatal repercussions in affected dogs, especially in the larger infestations. Thus, these dogs can show: 

  • Exercise intolerance 
  • Slimming 
  • Tos. 
  • Pulmonary thromboembolism. 
  • Liver failure. 

Symptoms of eyeworms in dogs 

In dogs affected by eyeworms, we will appreciate: 

  • Ocular discharge 
  • Conjunctivitis. 
  • They rub their eyes for itching. 
  • Loss of hair around the eyes. 

Faced with any of the symptoms above, do not hesitate to go to the vet immediately. 

How to prevent worms in dogs

Rather than treating the infection when our dog is already parasitized, the goal is to prevent it from spreading. For this, it is essential:

  • Periodic external deworming
  • Periodic internal deworming: in the case of puppies, who are much more curious and bite/lick everything they find, deworming should be more frequent.
  • Feeding without risks: ingesting raw viscera that can be hosts of intestinal parasites should be avoided.
  • Stool analysis if we suspect a possible parasite.

Treatment against worms in dogs 

All the types of worms in dogs that we have mentioned can be treated by a veterinarian. Therefore, suspecting that our dog is parasitized, we must go for a consultation.

The professional will perform the appropriate tests to detect and identify the parasites present. 

In the case of intestinal, pulmonary, and ocular worms, there are antiparasitic drugs that can eliminate the infestation in one or more doses.

In worms or heartworms, the treatment is somewhat more complex because if the worms die inside the circulatory system, they can obstruct it and cause the dog’s death.

For this reason, the veterinarian must examine each particular case and prescribe treatment in different phases to limit the risks for the dog. 

Therefore, and taking into account the potential contagion to people of some of these parasites, without a doubt the best we can do for our dog from its first weeks of life is to establish, following the veterinary advice, a correct deworming calendar that we will maintain during all his life. 

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