There are many signs and signals that can indicate your dog might have worms and they can range from the very mild to the very severe, all depending on the type of worm you might be dealing with, but every now and then your dog might not show any signs what so ever. Keep in mind no matter what type of worm it is that your dog will begin to show signs or symptoms of it eventually and you need to know what the symptoms are so you can help your pet as soon as possible.
These are a couple of very general signs that something is not right with your dog. Should your dog begin to lose weight with out any other known reason, their fur starts to look different or dull rather than shinny, and especially if your dog vomits more than once or once in a while, these are all signs that something is not right with your dog and it’s possible that they may have worms. One of the most noticeable signs that your dog has worms is if they are coughing.
It is a rare moment that your dog will cough, it happens but only once in a while. For a dog it’s not normal for them to cough except on rare occasion and a coughing dog should be taken seriously.
Different forms of worms:
There are currently around 8 different forms of the common worm and each give off a slightly different set of symptoms. These are; Tape Worms, Round Worms, Whip Worms, Pin Worms, Hook Worms, and last are Heartworms. Heartworms are the most serious form of worms that your dog can get and these will show you the very serious symptoms.
Tapeworms (Cestoda) – They just might be the very easiest type of worm for you to know that your dog has, these worms are flat and long and they have many different segments in their bodies. More often then not you will see these worms in your dogs stool and they will look sort of like little pieces of rice. Some times they may also be found around your dogs anus, which is one reason that you might see your dog dragging its bottom on the ground. This type of worm may be transmitted by fleas, but its more common that they will get this type of worm by eating grain based dog foods that have been contaminated by the worms.
Symptoms – One sign that will really get your attention is when you see your dog dragging their bottom across the floor, that’s because this worm will give your dog a very itching rear end. This type of worm may also cause your dog to vomit, have diarrhea, and if it’s a very severe infestation they may even develop anemia. These are similar to the pinworm but a bit more severe.
Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis, Trichuris campanula) – These are thin and long worms that your dog can get from another dog or from something that has the worms in or on it. Whipworms live in the large intestine and cecum (a small ‘dead-end’ portion of intestine lying at the junction of the small intestine and large intestine). They can remain dormant for months or even years and are extremely contagious.
Symptoms – The very first sign that your dog has this specific type of worm will be shown in intestinal stress. Typically it will start with having gas and that will turn into diarrhea. This can also create dehydration that can also be very dangerous.
Roundworms (Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonine) – These very common little buggers are completely different from whipworms, in the sense that they can become extremely large and have been known to get up to twelve centimeters long (that’s almost 5 inches long)! In addition, they multiply very quickly and because of this they can be found in large numbers.
Adult dogs may get roundworms through food or water that contains the worms, or by way of contact with feces or vomit from another infected animal. Although the thought of it may make you want to vomit yourself, it is a known fact that dogs will eat just about anything, including the feces or vomit of other animals.
Puppies may get an infestation while they are still in the womb or even from the milk of their mother should she have this type of worm. In almost all cases, should one pup have worms the rest will also have them. This specific type of worm is very sticky and it resembles a piece of cooked spaghetti when it comes to texture and appearance, this worm can be passed between both dogs and humans.
Symptoms – In puppies you will see a sudden onset of colic, crying and whimpering that doesn’t seem to stop. A mother dog with this form of worm will have trouble producing milk for her pups. Other adult dogs may have swelling in their abdomen that will be followed by vomiting. Their feces will be strange looking (black with brown and possibly orange swirls) and you will be able to see the worms moving around in their feces. Should this worm move into the lungs, your dog will also start to cough.
Pinworms (Enterobius) – These are the small white type of worms that typically will be transmitted by way of contaminated water or food. These little parasites will move into the dogs’ stomach area and eventually they will come out the rear of your dog. These are extremely common and may cause every intense itching near the anus. Even though these are a type of worm they are not really harmful, but still quite bothersome for your best friend.
Symptoms – As this type of worm creates intense itching you will likely see your dog dragging their bottom across the floor to try and relieve the itch!
Hookworms (Ancylostoma and Uncinaria) – These get their name because they will hook themselves to the intestinal walls of your dog and can be fatal to younger dogs. Typically this type of worm will be lethal to pops. Dogs can get this type of worm by way of the larval penetrating the skin. Pups can also get this nasty little worm from their mother as well.
Symptoms – This type of worm will literally suck the life from your dog by way of its blood, some noticeable signs that your dog has them will be a loss of nutrients and anemia. This will happen quickly and it would be hard not to notice as your dog starts to look extremely unhealthy. You will see the insides of their nose; ears, lips and other such areas get extremely pale. Their feces will become very tarry like and dark in color. Should the worm move to the lungs you will notice your dog coughing. If you choose not to get immediate attention for your dog they will surely not survive it.
Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) – By far this is the most serious form of worm for your dog. Your dog can get this type of worm by way of mosquitoes and they can be most lethal. It will only take a few of this type of worm to start to quickly destroy the heart muscles of your dog. In the early stages of this type of infestation your pet is not likely to show any symptoms and that makes them even more deadly.
Symptoms – Typically the first sign of the heartworm will be a very nasty cough; as though they have been smoking four packs a day for the last fifty years. As I am sure that you can imagine this is will often be accompanied by a shortness of breath and possibly even fainting. By the time things have gotten this far your dog will be very weak with high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. If your dog comes this far without treatment then your dogs’ days are numbered.
The bottom line is that the signs that your pet has worms can range from being mild and barely noticeable to very extreme. Although it might seem like there are a lot of worms out there trying to get your dog, the truth is that some of these are preventable and are extremely effective treatments for your pet. It is extremely important that you have a good understanding of the symptoms of the different worm infestations and that you use preventive measures as well as a heartworm medication for the life of your pet.