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Signs and symptoms of worm infestation

How do you tell if your dog has worms?

Worms (internal parasites) are very common in dogs but, fortunately, they are also very treatable. Most pet owners choose to treat their dogs with a dewormer regularly to avoid potential health issues, and as they are widely available without a prescription, this is easy to do.

Veloxa Chewable Worming Tablets packaging

Veloxa Chewable Worming Tablets

A tasty and easy to administer treatment, Veloxa is a simple de-worming tablet that is suitable for treating intestinal worms in dogs and puppies.

Common symptoms

None

Worm infestations can be totally asymptomatic, and so in these cases the only way to diagnose a worm infection is a faecal exam carried out by your vet.

Visible worms or eggs in faeces

This is the most common way to confirm that your dog has worms. However, not all kinds of worms are visible to the naked eye.

Scratching or rubbing of rear on the ground or against furniture

If your dog shows signs of itchiness around the rear, it may be irritated by worms in the area. However, this could also be due to problems with anal glands (completely unrelated to worms) or other conditions, so you need to see your vet if your dog shows this behaviour.

Vomiting with visible worms

If your dog has worms, you may also see them in your dog's vomit.

Bloated stomach or belly

This is another common symptom of worms, often seen in puppies who contract worms from their mother.

Weakness, increased appetite, constant hunger and weight loss

If your dog has worms, the worms are stealing your dog’s nutrition. Your dog may be weak or constantly hungry, and in severe cases, may be losing weight. If your dog is showing these symptoms you need to seek advice from your vet to manage treatment

Diarrhoea

Particularly with blood in it. Again, diarrhoea can also be indicative of other serious conditions, and your vet should be contacted. Bloody diarrhoea can also indicate other very serious disease and you should contact your vet immediately if you see this.

Endogard Plus Flavour Tablets for Dogs packaging

Endogard Plus Flavour Tablets for Dogs

Endogard is a palatable (tasty), safe and effective broad spectrum wormer for dogs.

Treatment for worm infestation

For the most common types of worms, including roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms, there are all-in-one medications for your dog (allwormers) in flavoured chewable tablets which will kill the existing infestation.

Here is the list of the most common products for worm infestions :

Drontal Dog Tasty Bone Tablet
  • Fast action against common canine intestinal tapeworms and roundworms
  • Bone-shaped design to make them more appetising to your pet
  • Can give at any time, on their own or with food
Panacur Granules for Cats & Dogs

A broad spectrum oral wormer, for the treatment of cats and dogs infected with roundworms and tapeworms.

Drontal Plus XL Beef Flavour Dog Worming Tablet

Use this tablet to help combat worms in your dog, and keep your pet happy and healthy

Cazitel Plus packaging

Cazitel Plus

A palatable dog worming tablet that can be used to treat Hookworms, Whipworms & Tapeworms.

Please note that the term "allwormer" usually refers to products designed as treatment for all common intestinal worms, and may not be effective against heartworm and lungworm as well. The way worming treatments work is to kill existing worms - there is no residual effect so nothing will prevent your dog picking up worms in the first place, however if the worms are killed regularly they will not have a chance to cause any damage.

Since this kind of medication covers all the major worm types, it is a very convenient multi-purpose medication for the average dog owner. You need to determine the correct dosage based on your dog's weight. Veterinary recommendation is to dose every three months except in cases of increased infection risk (such as hunting dogs, where treatment can be given monthly) Always consult your veterinary surgeon for advice on the most suitable products and dosage for your dog’s specific requirements

Cestem Large Dog Flavoured Worming Tablet packaging

Cestem Large Dog Flavoured Worming Tablet

Cestem Worming Tablets for Large Dogs treat and protect your pet from tapeworm, roundworm, ascarids and hookworm.

When your dog is at risk

New born puppies

Roundworm eggs can form cysts in adult dogs that remain dormant. These eggs cannot be removed by medication. When a female dog is pregnant, these dormant eggs will activate and infect the puppies. The mother's milk can also pass roundworms to puppies.

Contact with infected dirt

Roundworm eggs and hookworm larvae can reside in dirt. If your dog comes into contact with infected dirt, he may get worms.

Fleas

Young tapeworms can reside in fleas. If your dog swallows fleas while grooming, your dog will ingest tapeworms and be infected.

Hunting or eating wildlife

Wild animals may carry worms, including tapeworms residing in fleas on wild animals. If your dog hunts or eats wildlife, he may swallow worms.

Symptoms and risks for worm infestation

Roundworms

Roundworms can grow up to half a foot in length and live in the intestines. They should be visible as small noodle-like bits in faecal matter and cause swollen bellies. Roundworms are a big problem in puppies.

Hookworms

Hookworms are thin, small worms that "bite" or "hook" into the intestinal wall. They are not always visible to the naked eye, which means a microscope examination is needed to detect eggs in faecal matter. Hookworms can cause bleeding in the dog’s bowel because of their biting, which results in bloody stools or anaemia.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are flat, long worms that live in the intestines. Segments of the tapeworm that have broken off are visible to the naked eye as rice-like grains after drying out. These segments are often seen stuck to fur around the anus.

Whipworms

Whipworms are thin, thread like worms living in the large intestine. Adults may be visible to the naked eye, but faecal matter does not contain many worms, so they may be difficult to detect. A microscope examination of several faecal samples may be necessary to detect them. Whipworms are one of the most difficult worms to eliminate, but they are treatable.

Lungworm

There are more than one type of lungworm, but Angiostrongylus vasorum is the one that is popularised currently and can be life threatening. It is spread via ingestion of slugs and snails. Currently the only treatments and preventatives available are only available with a prescription from your vet.

Heartworms

Heartworms are one of the most dangerous worms because they cannot be easily detected. Heartworm can only be detected by blood testing. This disease is potentially fatal, but preventative medicine is available from your veterinary surgeon. Heartworm is not generally seen in the UK because it is spread by mosquitos, but dogs travelling to Europe or elsewhere in the world are at risk.

Risk for humans

Roundworms

Eggs can be found in soil wherever dogs have defaecated. If roundworm eggs are ingested accidentally, roundworm larvae can pass into internal organs in the human, affecting muscle, eyes, and central nervous system. Immune compromised people and children are most at risk.

Hookworms

Hookworm larvae can be picked up if walking barefoot on affected sand or soil. They can cause skin and/or intestinal disease.

Tapeworms

A very serious disease called hydatid disease can occur from being infected with Echinococcus granulosus dog tapeworm. It causes cysts to form in vital organs and if they rupture cause serious illness or death.

Whipworms

Humans are not affected by canine whipworm.

Lungworm

Humans are not affected by canine lungworm.

Heartworms

Humans are not affected by canine heartworm.