Types of Parasitic Worms in Dogs

Worms in dogs typically lodge in the gastrointestinal tract and feed on the dog's nutrients or travel in the dog's blood stream. A lot of puppies are born with roundworms, which are transmitted from the mother. The worms may also be transmitted through feces and infested soil and water. The parasites can be treated efficiently and they may also be prevented in the future.

Types of Parasitic Worms

There are 3 types of parasitic worms that may affect dogs, each type being different in size and shape. The main types of worms in canines include:

  • Roundworms, which are also known as Nematodes, are tapered at the ends and are microscopic in size and also narrow. There roundworms may be of different kinds: stomach worms, hookworms or whipworms. The worms that affect the heart or the lungs are also roundworms.
  • Tapeworms or Cestodes have a head and are made up of several segments
  • Flatworms are also known as Trematodes or Flukes and are flat and tend to attach to the dog's intestines, liver or lungs

It must be noted that ringworms are not worms as the name suggests. The condition is a fungal infection that causes ring shaped bald patches on the dog's skin.

How Are Worms Transmitted

The parasitic worms are most often transmitted through the ingestion of feces that contain worms or eggs. Puppies are more exposed to contracting worms.

Puppies may also get the worms from their mother.

Tapeworms may also be transmitted by ingesting a flea or a mouse that is a carrier of flea larvae.

Detecting Parasitic Worms

The parasitic worms may cause symptoms in dogs including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or lack of appetite, but the dog may present no symptoms at all.

The parasitic worms can be found in the dog's stool, so analyzing a feces sample can help diagnosing the dog. However, most often, the worms won't be visible, as they may be microscopic. There are also eggs present in the feces, but these may not be visible either.

It may happen that segments of tapeworms are eliminated through feces. You may also notice worm segments near the dog's rectum.

Treating Worms

Worms may be treated through the administration of dewormers such as Heartgard (effective for roundworms and hookworms), interceptor or sentinel (for roundworms, hookworms or whipworms).

There are also a few dietary supplements that may be administered that will cause the elimination of worms.

Preventing Parasitic Worms

Dewormers may be administered to prevent the infestation with parasitic worms. There are also solutions that may be administered that will prevent the heartworms.

Parasites Transmitted to Humans

Certain parasitic worms may be transmitted to humans as well. Hookworms can infect children that ingest sand or soil that is infested with worm eggs. Hookworms may also penetrate human skin and infect humans.

It is important to handle dog feces with gloves and wash your hands after handling dog feces.