The Dangers of Not Worming Your Dog in Australia
So, what are the dangers of not worming your dog?
You come home from a long day of work, and who greets you at the door with unconditional love? Day in and day out your dog shows you how much you are loved. In addition to returning their love, you want to be sure to do all you can to keep your pup in the best of health.
A healthy dog is one that is free of worms. As a responsible dog owner, worming your dog is very important and it’s important for you to learn about and have an understanding of the types of worms that can plague your beloved four-legged family member.
Types of Worms Found in Dogs & the Damage They Can Inflict
The most common worms that infect dogs in Australia are:
Heartworms – The worst of all canine worms, the Heartworm can be life threatening, therefore, must be treated if found. Found in many parts of Australia, Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes. Did you know that Heartworm is not passed from dog to dog and that dogs cannot pass it to humans? An infected dog must be bitten by a mosquito that is carrying the infection from an infected dog previously bitten.
Heartworms attack the dog’s heart and pulmonary arteries. A dog that has been bitten by an infected mosquito will have larva (also known as microfilaria) in its bloodstream. This larva matures in a matter of months. Adult worms then make their home in the dog’s heart and nearby arteries.
If your dog becomes infected with Heartworm and is left untreated, they may develop heart disease and eventually heart failure. The good news is that Heartworm is treatable. Better yet, you can prevent it by using routine Heartworm prevention.
Hookworms – Hookworms can attack your dog by larva penetrating their skin or through ingestion. The larva of these worms contaminates soil via the faeces of infected dogs. Making sure that there are no stray dogs around your home, dirt, or sandy areas that your dog frequents can help keep him free of hookworms.
Hookworms develop from ingested larva and attach themselves to the dog’s intestine, feeding off the host’s blood. Mature worms lay eggs, the eggs pass through the dog’s faeces into soil, and the cycle continues.
Dog’s infected with hookworms can become anaemic and lose weight.
Hookworms do cause a threat to humans as they can penetrate their skin.
Roundworms – Roundworms can only get into their host via an ingested egg. These worms live in the dog’s small intestine; eggs are passed through their faeces.
Roundworms can cause stunted growth, in severe cases can lead to pneumonia or blockage of the intestines.
You may have heard of roundworms in humans. Young children who play in contaminated soil are especially at risk. Although anyone that is playing or working in infected soil is a potential candidate for roundworms. All you have to do it put your unclean hand to your mouth.
Tapeworms – Tapeworms attach themselves to the wall of the dog’s small intestine. Dogs become infected by ingesting the larva of these worms. Fleas are the most common carriers. Dogs become infected by ingesting an infected adult flea.
One indication that your dog has tapeworms is seeing them in your dog’s faeces. They look like flat pieces of rice.
In comparison to other parasites, tapeworms, while they still need to be treated, pose the least danger to your dog.
Whipworms – Whipworms infect dogs through ingestion of the eggs. Whipworm eggs live in soil for many months, even years. A dog can pick them up in their paws and later ingest them through cleaning themselves. Once swallowed, an egg will hatch in the dog’s intestine within one to three months. The worm attaches to the intestine wall.
These worms can cause weight loss, diarrhoea, and anaemia.
Whipworms in humans are extremely rare.
Symptoms Found in Dogs Suffering From Internal Worms
If your dog shows any of the following symptoms, we suggest that you pay a visit to your veterinarian to check for worms:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Blood in sputum
- Abnormal heart or lung sounds
Symptoms of other worm infections include:
- Diarrhoea or bloody diarrhoea
- Bloated stomach
- Worm pieces in faeces
- Mucous in faeces
- Weight loss
- Scooting or dragging their rear on the floor
How You Can Protect Your Companion From Worms
A dog that is free from worms is not necessarily free from the risk of becoming infected as you have read unless preventative worming treatments are administered.
Thankfully all of these parasites can be treated, and better yet, they can easily be prevented these days with easy-to-use products such as HeartGard, Advocate, Drontal, Sentinel, and more.
Advice and information provided in this article are intended to assist in keeping your dog happy and healthy. Please always seek professional veterinarian advice for any particular concerns.