Understanding Canine Worm Transmission and Infection

A canine worm can be irritating or deadly, depending on what is infecting your pet. Symptoms vary, from absolutely nothing to heart failure. At your vet appointments, make sure to have your dog's stool checked for signs of infection.

You should start a deworming regimen with your puppy, with treatments at two weeks, four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks, four months, five months and six months, followed by monthly heartworm medicine.

Heartworms Most Fatal Worm Parasite

Heartworms are parasites spread by a mosquito vectors, and are the most fatal of dog worms. The only way to prevent infection from this heart muscle-destroying parasite is to administer monthly pills that guard against the disease.

After the beginning stages of the infection, during which it is possible to cure, although difficult to diagnose, as there are no initial symptoms, the disease becomes deadly. Symptoms of the later stages include coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite and finally, heart failure.

Pinworms Spread through Contaminated Food

Pinworms are common parasites that spread through contaminated food, water and bedding. They're extremely irritating for your dog, and symptoms include "scooting," when your dog walks with its rear on the floor. Visit your vet for deworming medication.

Roundworms Infect Most Puppies

Roundworms infect nearly all puppies, with an infectious rate of approximately 98% due to introduction from the mother or through contact with contaminated soil. Even if the mother tests negative for roundworm, she may still have roundworm larvae in her intestinal tissue, from an infection as a puppy.

If your dog has long, pale spaghetti-looking strands in fecal matter or vomit, he has been infected with roundworm. Contact your vet for information about deworming, as roundworms can spread to humans.

Whipworms Difficult to Diagnose

Whipworms cause vomiting and diarrhea, and are invisible to the human eye. If you suspect your dog has whipworms, bring a stool sample to your vet. They can examine the sample with a microscope and provide deworming treatment upon diagnosis.

Whipworms are difficult to kill and diagnose, as the eggs don't appear in stool until three months after infection.

Tapeworms One of Most Common Worms

Tapeworms can be spread a number of ways, and are among the most common parasites infecting dogs. Often spread through contaminated ingredients in dog food, infected fleas and through the consumption of infected host animal stomachs, this parasite can cause diarrhea, vomiting, anemia and stomach blockage.

Regardless of whether or not your dog has symptoms, he may still be infected. Look for segments in the animal's living quarters, in feces and around your dog's anus. These segments are the reproductive units of the tapeworm, which can infect your other animals.

Medications to relieve your pet of tapeworms strip the parasite of the layer that protects it from stomach acid. The tapeworm is then digested and passes through the dog's system with no further problem.

Hookworms Often Pass From Mother to Puppies

Hookworms cause anemia and can siphon nutrients from your dog's intestines. They mature in the small intestine and are invisible to the human eye. These parasites can be passed from mother to puppy if the mother was infected with hookworm while pregnant.

Hookworms can penetrate skin and infect humans, so at the first sign of symptoms, get prescription deworming medications.