Just like human children, dogs can get into all sorts of things that they shouldn’t. Snooting in leaf litter, checking out garden pests like slugs and snails or eating things that definitely are not food! Unfortunately, part of dog ownership means dealing with pesky parasites like worms. All dogs will carry worms, but keeping your dog on regular worming tablets will help prevent the worm burden from taking over and causing serious medical complications.

Worm Species

Most dog owners realise that worming tablets will prevent worms in dogs, but few realise the variety of worms that can affect dogs and how serious them can be. Here are some of the types of worms that could affect your dog is he/she is not protected by a regular worming routine.

Roundworms

This is the most common type of worm found in dogs. It measures around 4–6inches at the adult stage and is white in colour. It is primarily found in puppies, although some adult dogs do suffer. The worms are ingested by an adult, usually by contact with infected ground or eating infected faeces. The worms mature in the stomach and travel through the body. Those that end up in tissues or organs then stop developing. Pregnancy will trigger then to start moving again. They will move through the wall of the placenta or via the umbilical vein where they will infect the puppies. It is also possible for puppies to become infected by nursing from an infected mother. Roundworms can cause tiredness, weight loss and poor skin/coat condition as they absorb nutrients from the body.

Hookworms

These little parasites attach themselves to the lining of the intestines and feed of the host dog’s blood. They lay eggs into the digestive tract which then leave the body via faeces and will go on to infect other dogs. This is achieved through contact such as walking on ground that contains eggs or contact with the skin such as when dogs clean themselves. Due to their need to take blood, an untreated hookworm infestation can lead to weight loss, extreme fatigue and even death in severe cases.

Tapeworms

A tapeworm infestation, like roundworms and hookworms, is caused by contact with something containing tapeworm eggs. This can be soil, sand or faeces. They are long and flat, able to grow up to 50cm in length. They have segmented bodies and each segment contains eggs. Tapeworms are found in the small intestine where they absorb nutrients from the gut. An adult will drop a segment of its body which leaves in the faeces. These segments can sometimes be seen on or near the dog’s rear. They are often described as grains of rice. The easiest way to tell if your dog may have tapeworms is if you see them scooting. Those little egg segments can be itchy! Tapeworms can also be passed by fleas, so it is important that your flea and worm treatment are both regular. An untreated infestation can also cause diarrhoea, weight loss, poor skin and a dull coat.

Whipworm

Another intestinal worm, the eggs can survive in soil or faeces until they come into contact with a dog. Once ingested, they live in the Caecum, the point where the small and large intestines meet. Whipworms are smaller than some other species, growing roughly the same length as a match. Untreated whipworm infestations can cause blood in the faeces, diarrhoea, anaemia or, in severe cases, death.

Heartworm

This is the least common type of worm to be found in dogs in the UK. It is transmitted by mosquitoes in warm European countries. If a dog has travelled abroad they can contract heartworm infestations via a mosquito bite. They live in the right side of the heart or the main artery between the heart and lungs. Symptoms of heartworm includes coughing, breathing difficulties and weight loss. When larvae are produced, they can block the artery causing pneumonia, other lung and heart problems or death if untreated.

Lungworms

These worms live on garden pests like slugs, snails and frogs. Once ingested they start to mature, travelling to heart and surrounding blood vessels. After 28 days, the adult female worms will produce larvae. This can overwhelm the heart and vessels, leading to haemorrhaging in several organs including lungs, liver and intestines. Other symptoms are similar to a heartworm infestation.

Worming Routine

Puppies should be wormed by the vet during their fortnightly check ups until they are 8 weeks old. From then until 6 months old, they should be wormed monthly. Once they reach 6 months of age, they should be wormed around every 3 months. There are tablet and spot on options. It is advisable to speak to your vet when choosing a wormer. Some only treat one type, whereas others are a combination and will treat 2 or 3 types at once.

Worming Tablets

Remember to always take worming guidance from your vetenarian. It’s also important to consider the size of your dog when choosing a worming tablet. You can buy worming tables from your vets, but this can often be expensive. It’s often cheaper to get advice from your vet and then buy the worming tablets for dogs online. We often use the Bob Martin or Johnsons wormers for our dogs. Here are some of the best worming tablets that you can buy online…

Bob Martin produce a clinically proven combination tablet that is effective in treating roundworm, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms.

For Tapeworms, Droncit have created a veterinary licensed tablet, effective against immature and adult worms.

For treatment against roundworms and tapeworms, this combination worming tablet from Johnsons is a safe and effective option. As tapeworms can be transmitted by fleas, this wormer should be given alongside regular flea treatment.

Beaphar also have a UK veterinary authorised combination tablet for treating roundworms and tapeworms.

As with any pet treatment, always consult with your vet who will be able to advise you of the best options for worming. If your dog is struggling to take tablets, there are certain spot on alternatives that your vet will be able to recommend.

Originally published at https://patterdaleterriers.co.uk on June 30, 2020.

Hi I’m Amy — travel blogger, dog lover, digital marketer. I write mainly about Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Getting into drones!

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