The Five Varieties of Dog Worms

Parasitic dog worms affect millions of dogs every year. Some are easily viewed in dog feces, but others are harder to spot without a high powered microscope. Because many internal parasites cause weight loss, diarrhea, anemia, nausea and vomiting, it is important to treat puppies and adults until the infection is cleared up. Learn about the five dog worm varieties.

Heartworms Are Easily Prevented

Heartworms, a dangerous dog disease, enter a dog's bloodstream through the bite of an infected mosquito. Giving your dog heartworm medications through mosquito season prevents this dangerous parasite from infecting your pet

If you pet receives a positive diagnosis, treatment in the earliest stages of the dog disease kills off any heartworms in the bloodstream. You must keep your dog's activities to a minimum. If a heartworm enters the lungs, it can cause pulmonary embolism and kill the dog. If the heartworms go undetected, surgical removal of the dog worms is required.

Diagnosing and Treating Hookworms

Hookworms remain the most common parasitic dog worms. Hookworm larvae survive in soil. If a dog orally ingests soil with hookworm eggs, the eggs hatch in the intestines and grow into adult hookworms. You'll see small white worms in your dog's feces making hookworms easy to diagnose. Veterinarians look for eggs in a dog's stool sample.

Puppies quickly become anemic with a hookworm infestation. It's important to check your puppy's stool and watch for diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy.

Learn about Roundworms

Roundworms enter a dog's bloodstream after ingestion. Surviving for years in soil, roundworm eggs enter a dog when they put something in their mouth that's been sitting on the ground where eggs are present. Eventually, they develop into large worms that block the passage of fecal matter in the intestines. A blocked intestine will kill a puppy or dog. Dog feces that makes it out of the body adds new egg casings to the soil so that the roundworm's life cycle is repeated.

Puppies are high risk because they can contract the worms from their mother. Veterinarians will ask for a stool sample from your dog to make sure your dog is free of a roundworm infestation. They use high powered microscopes to look for eggs and larvae. Worming medications kill adult worms and eggs, but it's also important to train a pet to not eat things found on the ground.

Facts about Tapeworms

Tapeworms and fleas go hand in hand. If a dog ingests an infected flea or an animal infested with tapeworms, he also ingests the dog worms. Tapeworms are hard to kill and require veterinary treatment. Symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss and abdominal pain.

Veterinarians look for particles that look like rice in a dog's feces and around the anus. These particles are pieces of tapeworm that hold egg casings. Tapeworms affect humans too, so it is important to clear your yard of any fecal matter that contains tapeworm eggs.

What You Need to Know about Whipworms

Whipworms remain the hardest worm to diagnose. It may take several stool samples before veterinarians find egg casings. Whipworm larvae enter a dog stomach after drinking water or eating food infected with their larvae.

Common symptoms of these dog worms' infestations include diarrhea, weight loss and anemia. Humans can contract whipworms.