There may be no warning before dog worms strike.
It was about two AM when beneath our bed the new puppy we’d brought home from the pound just a month earlier began screaming.
Not yipping or whining — this was the kind of agonized screams that’ll stand your hair up on end. Our cute, playful new puppy was being eaten alive from inside.
He had worms, even though he’d received all the right shots just a few weeks before.
Now he was dying, right there under our bed, and we weren’t able to save him. The worms were just too advanced.
He had been a happy little guy, playful and filled with fun. So that night — and those screams — have stayed with me a very long time.
An experience like that will change your attitude fast. It sure changed mine. Up till then, I’d been a bit cavalier about health care for my pets.
However, dog worms are serious business. They need to be treated as soon as possible. And even if you’re not sure, get your dog tested anyway, just to be safe. Being safe is far better than listening helplessly to your dog die in the night.
If your dog has diarrhea, the cause can be dog worms, and you should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
To determine if dog worms are the problem you will need to take a stool sample to your vet. In some cases, however, dog worms can occur even when your dog has normal stools. A yearly stool exam is needed to make sure your dog doesn’t have worms. Puppies should be checked more often.
There are several types of worms. Your vet can test for all kinds and give the appropriate treatment.
Roundworms are the most common and are usually found in newborn puppies. Older dogs usually don’t have problems with roundworms.
Hookworms are also common. This worm lodges in the small intestine of the dog. When your dog has hookworms he will often have vomiting and diarrhea. In young puppies, this can cause anemia and other complications.
Whipworms live in the junction where the large and small intestines meet. These worms cause inflammation in the lower part of the GI tract, and the symptoms resemble those of colitis. Whipworms are difficult to diagnose, but your vet will usually treat your dog according to the clinical signs.
Some dog worms need a host in order to be transmitted. This type includes tapeworms. Fleas most often serve as the host to carry these worms.
The flea ingests the eggs and acts as host for the larvae. Then the dog swallows the flea with its tapeworm already present.
Often dogs with tapeworms do not show clinical signs. With no obvious symptoms, this makes it hard to diagnose the problem. However, if you often see your dog rubbing his bottom along the ground or on the floor, he may have an infestation of tapeworms.
It’s important to get your dog checked. You don’t have to learn the hard way as I did.
Dog worms are a serious health hazard. They impact your dog’s health and should be taken care of the minute you even suspect there could be a problem.