Parasitic Intestinal Worms in Pets
Just the mention of worms conjures up a disgusting image of creepy creatures. The most common parasitic worms in pets are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Worms find their way into a host through contaminated water, food, soil, mosquito bites, and sexual acts.
Parasitic worms mate, mature, and multiply in the intestinal tracts of animals for a very long period. There are usually no outward symptoms of worm infestation. Actually, some worm eggs and larvae can remain dormant in a pet’s body and become active only in times of pregnancy and stress. The only method of definite diagnosis is through stool examination by a veterinarian. If your pet displays one of the following signs, it is time perhaps for a vet visit.
Symptoms of Worm Infestation in Pets
- Weakness, weight loss and insomnia
- Diarrhea, often with blood
- Vomiting, often with worms
- Dryness in hair
- Stomach pain
Roundworms in Pets
A large number of puppies and kittens are born with microscopic roundworm larvae passed through the mother’s tissues or milk. They find their way to the intestinal tract, can grow up to five inches, and shed eggs. The eggs are then released through stool and reinfest other dogs and cats if they eat the stool. Roundworms in puppies and kittens can cause death by an intestinal blockage is not treated in time.
Whipworms in Pets
Adult whipworms look like tiny pieces of threads that live in the first section of the dog’s large intestine. Whipworms shed relatively few eggs so diagnosis is often difficult, requiring examination of several stool samples. The most visible sign is the chronic weight loss in dogs and stools with mucous covering.
Hookworms in Pets
These tiny worms suck blood by remaining attached to the wall of the small intestines of dogs. Like roundworms, hookworms can migrate to puppies through mother’s milk or uterus. Diagnosis is done by microscopic examination of feces. Severe cases of hookworm infestation can kill puppies and affect adult dogs, often visible as severe anemia, weight loss, poor stamina, and feeding problems.
Tapeworms in Pet
Tapeworms are segmented (often up to 90!) worms reaching 4 to 6 inches in length within the intestine. Tapeworm infestation is diagnosed by looking under the tail and anal area, where you may find tiny terminal segments of tapeworm the size of rice grains.
Treatment of intestinal worms described above is through administering dewormers for dogs, the best being the all wormer tablet – Popantel for dogs available through pet megastores.