Of top concern for all dog owners is the possibility of their beloved pet coming down with a case of canine intestinal worms. All dogs will normally have this problem at least once during their lives, so regular check-ups at your vet, as well as monthly preventative measures are required to keep this all too common issue from developing into a true health concern for your dog.
Canine Intestinal worms
The main types of canine intestinal worms your dog is most likely to contract are the hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, and whipworm. Heartworm parasitic infection can be included but as this particular worm is basically a different type not located in the intestines we will cover it in a second article about heartworms.
The four worms listed above are commonly found in puppies and adult dogs from rescue shelters, breeders who do not use thorough preventative measures, and stray dogs who have eaten dead animals or garbage. And yes, even your well cared for pooch can easily develop a case of worms from eating contaminated foods, chewing on some nasty stuff they run across while out playing and ingesting fleas. Symptoms to look for include a large round belly in puppies, eating a lot of food without gaining weight, bad breath, diarrhea, vomiting, anemia, scratching around the tail area, scooting their butts on the floor, weight loss, and mild or severe hacking/coughing.
Adult dogs that are healthy are less susceptible to possible canine intestinal worms as their immune system can handle mild infestations, especially if you are feeding them a high quality, raw food diet. This enables them to maintain optimal health and pass any worm larva through their digestive system without possible infestation occurring. Most vets recommend treating puppies and young adult dogs with medicine prescribed by them. For mature dogs the same applies except the medicine will be stronger. One of the best ways to keep this issue to a minimum is grabbing your pooper scooper and keeping the yard clean of feces.
For your dog’s overall well-being herbal treatments should be used at the first signs of worm infestation. These natural remedies are much easier on the dogs system and work as well as the prescribed medication without the possible side effects many prescription medicines produce. Often these side effects prescribed medicine can bring on other problems as your dog ages so only use them as a last resort, if your herbal treatment is not working. Avoid any of the over the counter wormers as they are far less effective and basically a waste of your money.
Also be aware that humans, particularly children, can “catch” this from the dog also, but are more likely to pick it up from their yards. As mentioned by Dogs.About.com:
Humans can contract roundworms through contact with contaminated soil, potentially leading to a serious condition called Visceral Larva Migrans. Always wear gloves when handling any soil, especially that which may have come in contact with dog feces.
Caring for your dog includes keeping a watchful eye on them for any signs of canine intestinal worms and treating this problem as soon as possible.
How do you deal with worming your dog? Comments are welcome below.