5814 William Flynn Hwy
Bakerstown, PA 15007
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Dog Deworming

How Can My Dog Become Infected with Worms?

At Bakerstown Animal Hospital, we love helping educate our clients about the best detection and prevention methods for parasites in dogs, and we pride ourselves on providing our canine patients with the utmost in care and treatment protocols. Due to their outdoor lifestyles and social natures, most dogs will be at risk of contracting intestinal parasites throughout their lives. Some of the most common ways to contract worms in dogs include:

  • Drinking contaminated milk from the mother during nursing
  • In utero infection from mom to pup
  • Rolling in, sniffing, eating, stepping in or licking contaminated soil
  • Consuming infected prey such as rodents, birds, and reptiles
  • Mosquito, flea and tick bites or ingestion
  • Contact with an infected dog or another infected animal
  • Consuming or coming into contact with an infected animal’s feces or vomit

It is very important to understand that parasites in dogs can cause severe medical issues and health conditions if left untreated. This is why we recommend discussing a parasite prevention protocol with your veterinarian.

Types Of Dog Parasites

The following intestinal parasites are some of the most common types of dog worms:

  • Roundworms: Description:Grow to be 3-5” long, often resemble a piece of wet spaghetti. Transmission: From mom to pup in utero and/or nursing. Ingestion of contaminated feces from the environment. Ingestion of infected animal Clinical Signs: abdominal distension (potbelly) poor nursing or appetite weakness, loss of condition vomiting or coughing sometimes with visible worm segments asymptomatic Diagnosis: fecal flotation adult worms visible in feces or vomitus
  • Tapeworms: Description: long and flat ⅛” segmented bodies that can grow to 8 inches in length tapeworm segments may resemble grains of rice Transmission: Ingestion of infected animal Ingestion of infected flea Clinical Signs: dragging or rubbing rear end on ground visible segments in feces or on hind end asymptomatic Diagnosis: fecal flotation visible segments
  • Hookworms: Description: very small adult worm that can be difficult to see with naked eye, 0.5 cm in length Transmission: Nursing pups ingestion of contaminated environment penetration of skin by larva in environment Clinical Signs: blood loss- pale mucous membranes, tarry stool poor body condition lethargy, weakness signs most severe in young puppies Diagnosis. fecal flotation
  • Whipworms: Whipworms in dogs are about ¼” long and reside in the cecum and colon. Whipworms can cause severe damage to these organs, and are considered one of the most harmful dog worms in existence, but are also more geographically distinct than other dog worms.
  • How are Intestinal Parasites Diagnosed?

    Unlike adult roundworms, the eggs, or larvae, are incredibly resistant and resilient. They have even been known to survive disinfectants and extreme, harsh environmental conditions. In these cases, removal of a dog’s stool is the best option to prevent reinfection. This can be accomplished by using a 1% bleach, 99% water solution to remove the sticky outer coating of the eggs, which will allow them to be flushed away. However, we do not recommend planning or undertaking such a procedure without first consulting your veterinarian.

    Adult worms can usually be seen with the naked eye in the stool versus eggs, which require a microscope. For this reason, we highly recommend making an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect roundworms in dogs, in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

    Symptoms Of Dog Worms

    It is important for dog owners to be on the lookout for symptoms of worms, because by the time your canine friend displays signs of infestation, he or she is usually already well along in the process. Some of the most common symptoms of worms in dogs are:

    How Are Dog Worms Treated?

    Dog worms are generally treatable, so long as they are diagnosed, arrested and treated before the onset of advanced stages of infestation. Your veterinarian can prescribe the proper deworming medication (anthelmintic), along with the appropriate administration protocol, based on the parasite and extent of infestation.

    We highly recommend consulting your veterinarian before purchasing or administering any over-the-counter or prescription medication for dog worms. Only your veterinarian can determine the severity of the infestation, and then order the proper number of treatments, as well as any other recommended instructions.

    Are Worms In Dogs A Danger To My Family?

    Some types of worms in dogs, like roundworms, are very dangerous to human beings, especially children who play in areas frequented by host animals like raccoons, dogs, and cats. Sandboxes and other dirt and sand covered outdoor play areas routinely serve as makeshift litter boxes for animals infected with dog worms, and many other intestinal parasites. In fact, approximately 10,000 children per year are infected with parasitic worms, and conditions including blindness can occur in severe cases. However, we will now discuss several effective precautionary measures you can take to help keep you and your family free from worms in dogs.

    Steps To Prevent Dog Worms

    Fortunately, various preventive measures can be taken to help ensure your human, canine, and other assorted family members remain at a lower risk for contracting and spreading dog worms. Some preventive measures to reduce the risk of worms in dogs include:

    • Initial treatments given to all puppies at 3 weeks of age
    • Treating nursing females alongside their litter, in case worms in dogs were not detected in a previous fecal examination
    • Monthly dog worms preventive medication, given year round as prescribed by your veterinarian
    • Fecal examinations performed between 1-2 times per year depending on lifestyle habits like hunting, and geographic location
    • Prompt detection and intervention in the form of a dewormer for dogs
    • Clean up backyard feces periodically, at least 2-3 times per week
    • In public parks, playgrounds and dog parks, immediately dispose of feces with sanitary gloves and sealable bags
    • Stressing sanitary and hygienic conditions in the home, including limiting internal exposure to contaminated soil, fecal matter and/or host animals
    • Stressing hygiene in public, and especially with children, by limiting or avoiding exposure to potentially contaminated objects, locations, animals or people

    Deworming Puppies And New Dogs

    There are few thrills a family can experience like providing a forever home for a new puppy or dog. However, both newly homed puppies and rehomed adult dogs should be dewormed as follows:

    • Puppies: Initial treatment at 3 weeks of age and then as directed by your veterinarian. After the initial treatment(s) are completed, we recommend a monthly heartworm preventive that also helps prevent intestinal parasites. This should be the beginning of an annual dewormer for dogs protocol that your veterinarian can monitor and adjust if necessary.
    • Adult Dogs: Once the initial dewormer for dogs has been given as a puppy, dogs should receive monthly preventives year round. Additionally, we recommend performing fecal tests between 1-2 times per year depending on your dog’s lifestyle and several other factors.
    • Newly Acquired Dogs: No matter the age or documented history, we recommend a dewormer for dogs immediately upon acquisition, then again as recommended by your veterinarian, with a monthly dewormer for dogs preventive to follow as directed.

    Treating Dog Worms In The Bakerstown, PA Area

    Scheduling an appointment for worms in dogs in the Bakerstown, PA area is as easy as picking up a phone and calling (724) 414-1036 or sending us an inquiry through our website. We proudly serve the following areas: Bakerstown, Gibsonia, Allison Park, Valencia, Cheswick, Bulter, Mars, Glenshaw, Tarentum, Wexford

    If You Suspect Your Dog Has Worms, Schedule An Appointment

    Our dedicated veterinary team is here to help answer any dog worms questions you might have, and can schedule an appointment for your canine friend today.

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