The thought of our dog being a host for worms of various shapes and sizes is enough to make our skin crawl. However, these parasites aren’t just icky – they’re dangerous. As such, their extraction from your dog shouldn’t be taken lightly. But how do you clear them out?
How do Worms Develop in Dogs?
Dogs have a tendency to pick up worms simply because of their inherent nature to stick their nose and mouths where they shouldn’t. Habits like gobbling up dirt, garbage, or feces make it relatively easy to pick up parasites. These uninvited guests can also be transferred from dog to dog through various means, from sniffing to playing. Puppies are particularly susceptible to worms, as they have a tendency to pick up worms from their mother.
You may not immediately pick up on the presence of worms in your dog, but there are signs that you can look for that can indicate their presence. Some of the signs that may signal an issue include coughing, weight loss, vomiting, or a tendency to chew or lick under his tail. If you see any of these potential symptoms, it is wise to consult with a veterinarian right away.
Are All Worms Alike?
There are essentially five types of worms that can reside in and infect dogs: Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms. The first four worms will take up residence in your dog’s intestines, and can cause issues ranging from anemia to intestinal blockage. Heartworms, on the other hand, live in a dog’s cardio-pulmonary system and blood vessels, and can cause serious health issues up to and including death.
How Does Deworming Work?
It is important that you develop a concrete deworming strategy. It is recommended that puppies are dewormed at 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 16 weeks, and then again at 6 months and 1 year. They should then be dewormed once they reach adulthood.
These deworming techniques are typically administered through a worm medication via your dog’s veterinarian. However, it should be noted that there is no one “cure-all” medication to eradicate the worms within your dog’s body, although some medications to prevent heartworms have been shown to be effective against roundworms and hookworms. Because of this, it is imperative that you figure out what worm you are dealing with before you provide deworming medication to your pup.
In order to do this, it is recommended that you provide your veterinarian with a stool sample from your dog. Once the worm has been identified, your vet will be able to provide your dog with the appropriate medication. In fact, it is always important that you consult with your vet before utilizing any deworming medication, as some breeds may be particularly sensitive to certain types of treatments.
Getting Rid of Heartworms Can Be a Long, Tough Process
It almost goes without saying that heartworms are extremely serious, since they could kill your dog. The treatment needed to get rid your dog of them can be pretty arduous in part because of their severity. It can also be an expensive treatment, as your vet will have to take X-rays, conduct blood work, and perform other tests in order to judge the severity of the condition.
Typically, the heartworm treatment consists of your dog taking an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory medication, and a heartworm treatment. The treatment is usually administered to your dog via shot three times over a two-month interval. The treatment will kill the heartworms; however, these dead worms break into pieces that could block blood flow, so it’s best to keep your dog quiet and calm for a few months after the treatment is done.
Your dog should be free from the worms after the treatment, but your vet will do a follow-up examination six months after the treatment. If your vet still spots heartworms, your dog will need to, unfortunately, go through another round of treatment. If they are all gone, you will still need to administer your dog preventative medicine for the rest of his life.
He’s Your Dog – Of Course He’s Worth It!
Deworming may seem like a lot of rigmarole to ensure your dog’s health. However, the silver lining to all of these tactics is getting your dog to a level of good health like he deserves. And who wouldn’t want good health bestowed on their little buddy?