How Worms in Dogs Affect Your Family

Posted August 19th, 2010 by gemainz

In the UK, worms in dogs are a common issue. They cause distress and ill health in our dogs and they can re-infest our pets at any time. All over the world there are many types of worms in dogs and in the UK we are fortunate enough to have to deal primarily with only two. They are known as the roundworm and the tapeworm.

Roundworms are problematic because they are passed from one animal to another and many puppies are even born carrying them. Roundworms resemble short lengths of spaghetti. Mature worms live in the dog’s intestines and feed on the contents. This results in your dog’s dinner being shared as worms feed on its partially digested food. The amount of worms present depends on whether the infestation is very severe or not, but it is possible that dozens of worms could be present at any one time. Of course, it follows that a dogs which is being forced to share its food with large numbers of parasites will become malnourished. Severe infestations can lead to loss of energy and a dull coat. Diarrhoea and vomiting might also be caused. Puppies with roundworms typically have a swollen abdomen and delayed growth. If a puppy with roundworm is left without treatment he or she could die from intestinal blockage. However, do remember that worms in dogs do not always cause the appearance of symptoms. Regular worming treatment is therefore very important.

In adult dogs, the larvae of the worms move around the body until they settle in cysts in the muscles. In this form, even worming treatment cannot remove the larvae. The larvae can remain inactive in the dog’s body until they reawaken during a time of stress. Typically, they will become active in pregnancy and infect the foetuses. This means it is very important to worm all puppies.

Worms in dogs are a problem that can actually affect humans as well. Children are especially at risk because they are more likely to come into contact with worm eggs in soil whilst playing. Worm larvae can migrate through the child’s body and have been known to cause lasting eye damage if settling near the back of the eye. Regular treatment for worms in dogs is therefore vital to protect the health of the entire family.

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