Worms are a common parasite in dogs. In some instances, it is a most dangerous health issue. Fortunately, worms are also very easily treated. This is why it is so vital to know how to tell if your dog has worms. There are several ways to determine the condition, and common ways that your dog can get worms. We will go over the symptoms and explain the different types of worms and how they are contracted.
There is one way to be absolutely sure your dog has worms, and that is to see them. There are three instances where you may find them: first is in the animal's fecal matter. This is the most common way to visually spot any worms. The second way is the dog's vomit. If you see your dog vomiting, check the matter for worms. Third is to inspect the fur surrounding the dog's rectum. This location is quite common for tape worms, which will look like little moving grains of rice.
Symptoms of worms can vary from dog to dog. One of the most common symptoms is rubbing or scratching the rear to relieve the irritating itch caused by the infestation. But this can also be a symptom of several disorders that have nothing to do with worms, or it can be a symptom of impacted anal glands. Get your pet to the veterinarian to determine which problem is the culprit for the 'scooting' behavior. Extreme hunger and an insatiable appetite can be a sign of worms. This is due to the fact that the worms steal nutrition from their host (the dog) to survive. Another common symptom in puppies with worms is bloating or swelling of the abdomen, which is most common when the puppy contracted worms through its mother's milk. Weakness, weight loss and diarrhea, especially with blood in it, are also common and extremely dangerous symptoms of worms. The danger here is that the parasite is robbing your dog of vital nutrients to such a degree that it can cause your dog to die of malnutrition. Bloody stool or diarrhea is an indication that the parasite has caused intestinal damage, which can lead to blood clots.
There are many different ways that your dog can contract worms, and they are susceptible from birth to these parasites. Roundworms can be contracted by newborn puppies in several different ways. Roundworm eggs can cause cysts in mature dogs that stay dormant for a long time. Later, these eggs can be transmitted to puppies during pregnancy. They can also be passed to the puppies after birth through the mother's milk. Roundworm eggs and hookworm larvae can live in dirt and any dog that makes contact with the infected dirt can become infected.
Fleas are dangerous for dogs, especially puppies, because they may carry tapeworm eggs and larvae. If your dog grooms itself and ingests an infected flea, it can become infected with tapeworms. Try to discourage your dog from hunting or eating wild animals, which can also carry many different diseases along with tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms and heart-worms.
Intestinal Worms: Signs & Symptoms by Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff, http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=168
University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, http://www.vet.uga.edu/vpp/activities/dogdocs/animaldoc/animaldoc_dogw.php
Worm Identification in Dogs, http://www.beaglesunlimited.com/health/canine-intestinal-worms-and-inexpensive-treatment
A Complete Guide to Worms in Dogs, http://www.wormsindogs.org/