The Two Most Common Worms in Dogs

For our pets, worms in dogs are an everyday problems. In the UK there are two types which are most common and they are roundworms and tapeworms. Roundworms are more of a problem for puppies and tapeworms for adult dogs. Here is a brief guide to both.

Roundworms will normally have infested a puppy before it is even born and almost certainly shortly after birth. They look a lot like very small lengths of spaghetti. When they have reached maturity, which happens quickly, they live in the intestines of the dog and feed off the contents. Of course, the fact that some of the dog’s food is being consumed by a parasite, he isn’t receiving adequate nutrition. When it is possible for there to be dozens of worms present at once, it is easy to understand why undernourishment is a likely consequence of the infestation. Other possible symptoms include a dull coat, lethargy or vomiting and diarrhoea. At the same time it is possible for an infestation to be symptomless. A swollen abdomen is often present in infested puppies. Serious infestations can cause a puppy’s death by intestinal blockage, so it is fair to assume that every puppy is infested and to treat them accordingly.

Tapeworms are the other common type of worms in dogs which affect our pets in the UK. They look a lot like long flat ribbons, made up of segments. When the eggs stored in each segment have matured, they are passed via the dog’s anus into the environment. In order to complete their life cycles, tapeworms rely on another host animal. Most commonly the intermediate animal is a flea, which ingests a worm egg and is subsequently accidentally swallowed by the dog. The adult tapeworm anchors itself onto the intestine wall and feeds on blood. Perhaps it is unsurprising therefore that this type or worms in dogs can cause anaemia. Because of the way the tapeworm’s life cycle is completed, treating dogs for fleas is as important as worming them.

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