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How Do I Know If My Dog Has Worms?

family-footerAs one of the most common problems vets see in dogs, intestinal parasites can affect pets of any age, though health risks for puppies are especially high. While preventing worms in the first place is the best approach, almost all cases of intestinal parasites in can be detected and treated at Germantown Vet. If you suspect your pup has worms, don’t ignore the symptoms! Learn more about signs that your dog may have worms, as well as treatment options available to you.

Dangers of Worms in Dogs

Some intestinal parasites, such as roundworms and tapeworms, don’t always produce symptoms because they simply absorb nutrients from your dog’s food. These freeloaders can inhabit your pet’s intestines for a long time if you never take your dog to the vet for screenings.

Other parasites, such as hookworms, burrow into your dog’s intestinal lining, causing inflammation and irritation that lead to vomiting. This can also result in blood loss and anemia, or a low red blood cell count.

Your dog’s intestines respond to parasites by secreting mucus, which can show up in your pet’s stool. This mucus production along with resulting diarrhea robs your dog of important nutrient absorption, which can lead to malnutrition.

Signs Your Dog Could Have Worms

The specific symptoms you dog experiences depend on what type of worms he has. Still, watch for these signs that something is wrong with your dog’s digestive system:

  • Pot belly: More common in puppies than adults, a bloated pot belly is a sign of worms.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting: Check your dog’s stool or vomit for mucus, blood or segments of intestinal worms.
  • Weakness and lethargy: If your dog lacks energy, it could be because a freeloader is soaking up all the nutrients from his food. Weakness and lethargy are also signs of anemia.
  • Odd appetite: Sudden increased hunger could be your dog reacting to malnutrition. Refusal to eat or drink could result from an upset stomach. Fast weight loss despite eating normally could be a sign of tapeworm or whipworm.
  • Dull coat and dry skin: Your dog’s fur and skin are the first to suffer from nutritional deficiencies if your dog has worms. A dull coat and itchy skin, especially around the rear end, are signs to watch out for.

Ways to Diagnose and Treat Worms in Dogs

A stool test is the most common method for diagnosing worms. For microscopic eggs that are difficult to spot in a stool sample, the vet may add a special solution to make them easier to see under a microscope.

Treatment can only begin once the intestinal parasites have been correctly identified. This usually involves taking a dewormer solution to kill the parasites, which should only take a few days. Follow-up vet visits and stool tests in the weeks following treatment ensure the parasites have been completely eliminated.

To prevent another worm infestation, keep your pet away from moist, grassy areas where worm eggs could be hiding. Then, watch your dog closely when playing outside to make sure he doesn’t attempt to eat dirt or feces. You can also ask your vet for preventative wormer medication.

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Call Germantown Vet If You Suspect Your Dog Has Worms

Annual pet check-ups are the best way to keep on top of intestinal parasites. If your dog exhibits symptoms between visits, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at Germantown Vet Clinic. The earlier we diagnose the problem, the sooner treatment can begin so your pet can avoid serious health complications. Eliminating worms promptly also reduces the risk that they could transmit to you or your family members.

To schedule your pet’s visit, please contact Germantown Vet today.

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