Worms in My Dog’s Poop – What To Do?
At one point or another, many pup parents notice a change in their dog’s bowel movements. Whether it be constipation or diarrhea, intestinal worms are the common causes of changes in a dog’s poop. These worms are very contagious and can cause several health problems. As a dog owner, it may be shocking to see worms in your dog’s poop, but you should know that you are not alone.
If you notice worms in your dog’s poop, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. Although this can be common, worms in a dog’s poop is a serious problem that should be treated immediately.
It is not always easy to detect intestinal worms in your dog’s poop, especially when you do not take your dog for routine check-ups. Luckily, this article outlines all you need to know about these worms, how to spot them, and what to do when you spot them. So, keep reading for more information.
Types of Intestinal Worms Found in Dog Poop
Noticing worms in your dog’s poop is a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately. However, it can be very difficult to address this problem when you do not know what these worms look like. Also, treating intestinal worms in dogs depends on the type of worm found. There are four types of worms found in dog poop: tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.
It is rare to find tapeworms in your dog’s poop, but you can see their egg sacs. Most tapeworm infections do not lead to severe diseases. Unlike every other worm in your dog’s poop, these worms have different physical characteristics. Adult tapeworms have segmented bodies instead of singular bodies.
Tapeworms need an intermediate host to infect your dog – your dog will become infected when they swallow the host that has tapeworm proglottids in them. Tapeworm egg sacs look like rice grains and can be found in your dog’s poop or sticking to your dog’s bottom.
Hookworms mostly affect younger dogs, but older dogs can also be infected. These worms are are thin, tiny, and long with hook-like mouthparts. They attach themselves to the mucosal lining of your dog’s intestinal tract, and this causes intestinal damage and inflammation. When the intestine gets damaged, it will lead to bloody diarrhea.
Roundworms are the most popular intestinal worms that you can find in young dogs. These worms can be several inches long with round bodies and tapering ends. Similar to hookworms, roundworms attach themselves to the mucosal lining of your dog’s large and small intestine, leading to diarrhea. Dogs usually get infected when they swallow food or water contaminated with the parasite’s infective stage.
Also, roundworms can be transmitted from a pregnant female dog to its fetus through the placenta, which is why it is mostly found in younger dogs.
Whipworms are usually found in the cecum and the colon – the latter parts of the intestinal tract. They are called whipworms because their appearance is similar to a bullwhip (they look like small threads that are enlarged on one end). These worms also attach to your dog’s mucosal lining, leading to diarrhea and bleeding. When the infection is mild, there will be little to no clinical signs, but when the worms increase, diarrhea starts.
How Worms Affect Your Dog’s Health
Different factors play a significant role in how intestinal worms affect your dog’s health – from the number of worms you are infected with and your dog’s size, age, and health. Some worms, such as roundworms, are mostly found in younger dogs. Also, some of these worms’ mild infection does not show clinical signs until the number of worms increases.
Younger dogs, smaller dogs, and dogs with weak immune systems have a higher risk of developing worms in their poop than other dogs. Besides the stomach and intestines, worms can be found in your dog’s heart, lungs, kidney, and other organs. Intestinal worms may also cause vomiting, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, mucusy diarrhea, exhaustion, abdominal bloating, and poor hair coat.
What to Do When you Find Worms in Your Dog’s Poop
Now that you know about the different worms you can find in your dog’s poop and how to spot them, it is essential that you also know what to do if this ever happens. Luckily, intestinal worms found in dog poop are easily treated. When you notice the worms and any of the clinical signs, the first thing you should do is to contact your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian will prescribe a deworming medication that will kill your dog’s adult worms after confirming what type it is. Deworming drugs like Pyrantel and Praziquantel (available in oral suspension and tablet) effectively kill adult worms in dogs. Other deworming medications can be prescribed Moxidectine, Milbemycine, or Fenbendazole, and these medications come in different forms like injections, tablets, liquid, or chewable pills.
Deworming medications usually require a few doses and will be given two weeks apart. This is because baby worms are not affected by the medicines until they mature; this usually takes about two weeks. It is working if you find worms in your dog’s poop or vomit after giving them the medication.
Tapeworms are not easily eliminated because of their segmented bodies, unlike other intestinal worms. So if your dog is infected with tapeworms, a continuous dosage of deworming medication is required. If the dosage is too far apart or you give your dog only one dose, some segments will survive, and the tapeworms will be able to grow again.
Although seeing worms in your dog’s poop can be common, it is still a serious problem that requires veterinary attention.
The best way to prevent worm infection in your dog is by maintaining a clean environment – keeping your dog’s food and water bowls clean. Also, ensure that you have your dog’s poop checked every six to twelve months and communicate with your veterinarian about monthly worm prevention.
About Old Derby Animal Hospital
At Old Derby Animal Hospital, we practice veterinary medicine with the goal of helping you maintain a stronger, longer-lasting bond with your pet. Our full-service veterinarian facility in Hingham, MA combines the feel of a large practice without sacrificing that personal touch that we believe is essential to your pet's care. You have access to a wide range of medical, surgical, and dental services for your pet at our animal hospital, including luxury boarding and grooming at The Inn.