Worms in dogs are a frequent problem for UK pets and their owners. They cause distress and ill health in our dogs and they can re-infest our pets at any time. Across the world there are many types of worms in dogs, or parasitic infections, but in the UK we deal primarily with just two. They are known as the roundworm and the tapeworm.
Roundworms cause difficulties when they are passed from one dog to another and more so when most puppies are born with an infestation. This type of worm resembles short lengths of spaghetti. Mature worms live in the dog’s intestines and feed on the contents. This results in your dog’s dinner being shared as worms feed on its partially digested food. The amount of worms present depends on whether the infestation is very severe or not, but it is possible that dozens of worms could be present at any one time. Of course, it is logical that under nourishment will be a consequence of a dog having to share its food. Severe infestations can lead to loss of energy and a dull coat. The dog may also suffer with diarrhoea and vomiting. In puppies, roundworms may cause a distended abdomen and delayed growth. Untreated roundworm infestations could actually kill a puppy by blocking their intestines. However, do remember that worms in dogs do not always cause the appearance of symptoms. Regularly treating dogs for worms is therefore very important.
Worm larvae typically migrate around the body of the adult dog, settling and forming cysts in the muscles. Even worming treatment cannot eliminate the larvae when it has formed a cyst in a muscle. The larvae can remain inactive in the dog’s body until they reawaken during a time of stress. Typically, they will become active in pregnancy and infect the foetuses. This means it is very important to worm all puppies.
Worms in dogs are a problem that can actually affect humans as well. Because they are more likely to come into contact with soil or sand that has been contaminated with worm eggs whilst playing, children are especially at risk. Worm larvae can migrate through the child’s body and have been known to cause lasting eye damage if settling near the back of the eye. Regular worms in dogs treatment therefore protects the whole family and not just our pets.