Does my dog have worms?
Worm infections are very common in dogs. Worms and their eggs are widespread in our environment (both indoor and outdoor), which makes it almost impossible to prevent contact with them. A dog can be infected with a worm infection, without visible signs on the outside. Symptoms like diarrhoea and weight loss are only seen in serious infections. Worms are also contagious for humans, especially for small children. It is therefore very important to ensure a good worm control for your dog: prevention is better than cure!
Which worms can my dog be infected with?
The following worms can be found in dogs:
- Roundworms (Toxacara, Toxascaris) are the most common worms in dogs. Roundworms live in the small intestines of dogs. Roundworm infections are most common in puppies because the bitch transmits the worm infection during birth to her puppies and because the puppies ingest the infective larvae by drinking milk. Dogs can also be infected by eating infected rodents or by licking/eating infected earth. Symptoms that can be seen with roundworm infections include a dull coat, lethargy, diarrhoea, vomiting, weight loss, an extended belly and coughing.
Products that are effective against roundworms in dogs: Banminth, Cazitel Plus, Cestem, Drontal, Endogard, Flubenol, Mansonil, Milbemax, Milpro, Panacur, Prazitel, Vitaminthe
- Dog tapeworms (Dipylidium) live in the small intestines of dogs. Often, the only symptoms you can see are worm segments (proglottids) around the anus of your dog. These worm segments are 0.5-1 cm long, white and look like rice grains when they’re dried. Dogs become infected with the dog tapeworm by swallowing a flea (intermediate host) that is infected with larvae. It is therefore very important to ensure a good flea control in addition to the worm control in your dog.
- Fox tapeworms (Echinococcus). As the name implies, the fox tapeworm occurs especially in foxes (final host) and rodents (intermediate host). Dogs can become infected by eating infected rodents, fox faeces, contaminated earth and raw meat. The fox tapeworms often don’t give a lot of problems in dogs, but infected dogs will spread the eggs with their faeces. The fox tapeworms are very dangerous for humans. After the ingestion of eggs, bladder worms will develop in the liver, which can cause serious problems.
- Taenia tapeworms are often only recognized in dogs because of the worm segments around the anus of the dog. The intermediate host of the Taenia tapeworms are mice and rats. Dogs can become infected by eating these rodents.
Products that are effective against tapeworms in dogs: Cazitel Plus, Cestem, Drontal, Endogard, Flubenol, Mansonil, Milbemax, Milpro, Panacur, Prazitel, Vitaminthe
- Dog whipworms (Trichuris). The dog whipworm is also called kennel worm, since the infection is often limited to a specific area or kennel. Whip worms are found in the colon and caecum of dogs. Dog whipworms damage the intestinal wall and can cause heavy infections with bloody diarrhoea and anaemia.
Products that are effective against whipworms in dogs: Cazitel Plus, Cestem, Drontal, Flubenol, Mansonil, Milbemax, Milpro, Panacur, Prazitel, Vitaminthe
- Hookworms (Ancylostoma, Uncinaria) are also worms who are often limited to kennels. Ancylostoma is a hook worm that primarily occurs in southern Europe and which often gives rise to severe symptoms. Puppies are often infected during birth or by drinking infected milk from their mothers. Adult dogs can become infected by eating hookworm larvae from the environment. Hookworms have a kind of beak with small teeth at one end, with which they hook themselves into the wall of the small intestines. They cause symptoms like bloody diarrhoea, anaemia and weight loss by damaging the intestinal wall. Humans can also become infected with hookworm larvae, after which an inflammatory reaction of the skin occurs.
Products that are effective against whipworm in dogs: Banminth, Cazitel Plus, Cestem, Drontal, Endogard, Flubenol, Mansonil, Milbemax, Milpro, Panacur, Prazitel, Vitaminthe
- Lung worms
- Angiostrongylus is also called French heartworm. The larvae of the French heartworm reside in frogs and snails. A dog gets infected when he eats/comes in contact with the faeces of these intermediate hosts. After the larvae are ingested, they will travel to the lungs and heart of the dog and may cause severe symptoms as weight loss, coughing, dyspnoea, anaemia and heart failure.
- Oslerus osleri is a worm that can be found in the trachea and bronchi of dogs. Dogs can become infected by ingestion of larvae in faeces, vomit or saliva of other dogs. Symptoms that may occur include coughing and dyspnoea.
Products that are effective against lung worms in dogs: Milbemax, Milpro
- Heart worms
- Heart worms (Dirofilaria) primarily occur in Southern and Eastern Europe. The micro larvae of the heartworm are transmitted to dogs by mosquitos. In the dog, the heartworm relocates to the heart and pulmonary arteries and can cause serious problems over there. Symptoms as fatigue, coughing, dyspnoea, fever and cardiac arrhythmias may occur in a heartworm infection. Heartworm disease in dogs is very difficult to treat. Therefore it is very important to prevent infections by the use of products against heartworms and mosquitos.
Products that are effective against heart worms in dogs: Milbemax, Milpro
Products that are effective against mosquitos in dogs: Advantix, Scalibor
How often should I worm my dog?
It is recommended to worm adult dogs at least four times a year (every three months). Puppies should be wormed more often, because they are often infected with worms already during birth or by drinking milk. A puppy should be wormed at the age of 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks and then every month up to an age of 6 months. When your puppy is 6 months or older, you can use the adult worming scheme. Because tapeworms are transmitted by fleas, it is recommended to give your dog a flea treatment in addition to worming.