Worms

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Worms

Post by Eleanor on Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:43 am

Worms

A lot of people are only aware of the two most common types of worm – roundworms and tapeworms. However, there are other types of worm. These are hookworms, whipworms and heartworms.

Please contact your vet to find out which worms are prevalent in your area. As with most treatments, it’s best to do your own research and consult a vet to determine which treatment you would prefer to use.

Roundworms

These worms live in the stomach and intestines of dogs, grow up to seven inches long and reproduce very rapidly. These are the worms that affect the majority of puppies prenatally after the larvae pass through the placenta. Even after birth, puppies can be infected through their dam’s milk. Aside from this, roundworms may also be contracted through the ingestion of a roundworm host such as a mouse, or through ingesting eggs from the ground and faecal matter.

Puppies should be dewormed as soon as possible, preferably before they are two weeks old, to avoid a heavy infestation and serious illness as a result. They should be retreated at four, six and eight weeks old. Roundworm can also affect humans, which further emphasises the importance of deworming.

Symptoms of roundworm:

  • Lethargy


  • Stomach pain/discomfort


  • Distended/swollen stomach


  • Vomiting


  • Coughing


  • Anorexia (appetite loss)


  • Visible worms in faeces


A number of treatments are available to rid your dog of worms.

Lungworm

Please be aware that a smaller species of roundworm can be extremely dangerous for your dog – Lungworm. These worms do not actually live in the lungs of dogs, but in the adjacent blood vessels and even in the heart.

Lungworm can be difficult to detect, as it is sub-clinical and may not present symptoms. However, some of the symptoms that do display are:


  • Vomiting


  • Weight loss


  • Lethargy


  • Dyspnoea (if the worms are located in the heart)


  • Fits and other problems related to the nervous system


  • Decreased ability of the body to form blood clots (nose bleeds may occur, for instance, or wounds may take longer to clot than usual)


  • An intolerance of exercise


  • Coughing and breathing difficulties


Young lungworms are found in snails and slugs, and so can be contracted if a dog ingests an infected snail or slug. It is rarely passed between dogs and does not affect humans.

Although a lot of worming treatments do not affect lungworm, there are some that do, so they are relatively easy to get rid of! Your vet will be able to tell you which treatments cover which worms.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are segmented, flat worms. Their length can vary greatly, ranging anywhere from under an inch to several feet long. Unlike roundworms, which move freely about the intestines, tapeworms use a combination of suckers and hooks on their heads to attach themselves to the wall of the intestine.
Each segment of a tapeworm contains special packets which carry eggs. As the tapeworm grows, these segments (sometimes moving) break away from the body, roughly half a centimetre in length, in order to release the eggs into the environment. Because of this, the head of the tapeworm must be destroyed in order to rid the dog of the infestation, as tail segments can regenerate.

Symptoms:


  • Detached segments may be visible around the dog’s anus, sometimes moving or, when dry, resembling grains of rice



  • Irritation around the anus



  • Lethargy, though often not as pronounced as in cases of other worm infestations



The most common tapeworm to affect dogs is Dipylidium caninum. Dogs may contract this type of tapeworm by ingesting intermediate hosts such as fleas, which have ingested the eggs beforehand – another reason to ensure that flea infestations are dealt with quickly and efficiently.  However, there is another type of tapeworm, called Taenia, which can also infect dogs. This type of tapeworm can infect dogs through hosts such as rats, mice, rabbits and sheep. For owners who feed their dog wild-caught raw food, it is recommended to freeze the meat before use to ensure that any eggs or larvae are killed.

Treatment is available for tapeworm.

Hookworms

Hookworms can be very dangerous for your dog, especially if it’s young. Usually, these types of worm are passed to puppies from their mother’s milk or by drinking from contaminated water/faecal matter, but they may also migrate through the dog’s skin. Due to their minute size, they cannot be seen with the naked eye. They live in the small intestines of a dog, attaching themselves to the intestinal walls and sucking blood – adult hookworms can cause anaemia and inflamed tissue in the intestines. Once a hookworm has bitten the intestines, the bite mark continue to bleed for some time afterwards.

Symptoms of hookworms include:


  • Pale mucous membranes (nostrils, lips, gums, lining of the ears) due to anaemia


  • Dark, bloody, tar-like stool due to digested blood


  • Diarrhoea/constipation


  • Coughing if the hookworms get into the lungs


  • Weight loss


  • Anorexia


  • In untreated cases, death may occur


Due to their size and the inability to see them with the naked eye, stool samples are necessary for your vet to detect them microscopically.

Treatment for hookworm is easy to get, as a lot of wormers will get rid of them. Your vet will be able to prescribe an appropriate treatment, as well as the duration necessary to rid your dog of all parasites.

It’s important to remember that puppies can contract hookworm directly from their mother, as well as through her milk; because of this, it is imperative that you follow the correct de-worming treatments for puppies. Pregnant bitches should also be de-wormed according to your vet’s recommendation in order to get rid of any adult hookworms. Please note that de-wormers won’t get rid of migrating larvae, so it’s important to repeat treatment in order to get rid of the larvae as they mature.

Whipworms

Whipworms live in the large intestines and cecum of dogs, measuring roughly six millimetres in length. They are passed from host to host via infected stools which contain eggs. When swallowed, they hatch once they reach the lower intestines, causing quite severe irritation to the intestinal linings.

Symptoms:


  • Bloody diarrhoea


  • Weight loss


  • Lethargy


To diagnose whipworms, multiple stool samples may be needed to analysis. Due to the irregular shedding of eggs in the stool and the time taken for an adult worm to begin laying eggs, stool samples may show false negatives; because of this, vets will often treat chronic diarrhoea with a de-wormer to ensure that any possible whipworm infestations are gotten rid of as soon as possible.

There are treatments available to get rid of whipworm. For advice on which one to choose, please consult your vet.

Heartworms


Heartworms are very serious, so it’s important to know your facts from fiction. They can grow up to several inches in length and reside in the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels, where they reproduce.

There is only one way for a dog to become infected with heartworm – through the bite of a mosquito. Mosquitos may act as vectors for heartworm eggs and a bite from just one mosquito may infect your dog. The eggs will then travel through the veins, where they begin to develop and grow, spreading throughout the bloodstream. Once they have developed enough, they migrate to the arteries leading to the lungs, where they continue to grow, causing inflammation in the lungs and (if left untreated) heart failure. Within roughly six-seven months of the dog being infected by the mosquito bite, the eggs will have hatched and matured into adults.

Heartworm is not currently present in the UK, but it is a problem in the US. Please note that rescue dogs from the US and some parts of Europe may carry heartworm, as shelters do not always have enough money to treat it properly; this means that it is imperative to get your dog onto a preventative treatment once you’ve rescued it. They are easy to prevent, but not so easy to get rid of once they’ve infected your dog.

Symptoms:


  • Breathing difficulties


  • Coughing


  • Lethargy


  • Dizziness


  • ‘Drunken’ walking


Please note that heartworm only presents symptoms once it has spread to the vital areas of your dog – i.e, the lung’s arteries.

Once symptoms are present, preventative treatment such as pills will not work – you need to take your dog to the vet to get rid of them. They can be detected with a blood test, which, if found positive for heartworm, will be followed by a lung radiograph to determine the extent of the damage caused to the lungs.

Treatment of an infected dog is not a pleasant experience. It can be very distressing and painful for the dog, which is why it is so important to use preventative treatment for heartworm to ensure that your dog doesn’t contract it in the first place. Over a period of roughly two months, the dog will need to be confined to a crate, with all activity limited. A series of arsenic-based injections will be administered by the vet in the places where heartworms reside; these injections are painful and cause inflammation. Absolute confinement of the dog is essential, as dead heartworms may block the blood vessels in the lungs. After the two months, the dog will need to have repeated treatment for up to four months, as well as blood tests to ensure that the worms are all gone.
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Re: Worms

Post by Caryll on Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:54 am

Very useful thread! thumbs up

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Re: Worms

Post by Eleanor on Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:09 pm

Thanks  blush 
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Re: Worms

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