What happens if I contract worms from a dog?
It is important to be aware of what types of worm can be transmitted from dogs to humans. Symptoms of worms in people vary depending on the type of worm but may involve parts of the body such as the eye, skin or internal organs. If you are concerned about any symptoms that develop it’s always best to visit your doctor.
Roundworm symptoms in humans can occur if roundworm eggs are accidently ingested by a human. Roundworm eggs can be found in soil wherever dogs have passed faeces, and if ingested, the larvae (juvenile worms) can migrate to internal organs, affecting muscles, eyes and the brain. Young children are considered most at risk as they are more likely to play in contaminated areas, place things in their mouths, and are less likely to have ideal hand hygiene.
Dogs with hookworm infestations will pass eggs in their faeces which hatch into larvae. The hookworm larvae can infest humans through skin contact (e.g. if walking barefoot on contaminated sand or soil). The larvae migrate through the skin and can cause skin lesions and other more serious diseases in humans. As it’s possible to get hookworm from your dog, it’s important to deworm your dog regularly.
Dogs are infested with hydatid tapeworm by eating raw offal (organs) from domestic grazing animals (e.g. sheep) or native wild animals (e.g. kangaroos) which have been infested with the parasite. Because of this, it primarily affects farm dogs fed raw offal or dogs which scavenge from carcasses. Hydatid tapeworm is 100% preventable if dogs are restricted from eating raw offal or scavenging carcasses. But what are the symptoms of tapeworm in humans? People can become infested with hydatid tapeworm if they ingest eggs passed in the faeces of an infested dog. Hydatid disease in humans is a potentially serious condition caused by cysts that form in vital organs such as the liver, lungs, and brain. Symptoms may include diarrhoea, unexplained weight loss, a swollen abdomen and fatigue.
While whipworm is an important cause of disease in dogs, cases of whipworm passing from dogs to people are very rare and the parasite poses little risk to humans. A different species of whipworm, Trichuris trichiura, affects humans but this is not the same as the canine whipworm and is not transmitted by dogs.
Reports of heartworm infections in people are very rare. Heartworm is a primarily a parasite of dogs but on very rare occasions humans can get heartworm after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In humans the juvenile heartworms never make it to the heart, but the inflammation caused by the worms can cause lung damage. It is impossible for the parasite to be spread directly from dogs to humans.
How can I get rid of worms in my dog?
Regular deworming helps to keep your dog healthy and helps to protect your family from zoonotic worms. Protect your dog with NexGard SPECTRA® for Dogs. Just one monthly chew controls the most common intestinal worms in dogs – roundworm, hookworm and whipworm, and prevents flea tapeworm infestation. Hydatid tapeworm is 100% preventable if dogs are restricted from eating offal or scavenging carcasses. For dogs at risk of hydatid tapeworm, treat with ParaGard® Allwormer for Dogs for broad-spectrum worming protection.
Can I get worms from my dog sleeping in my bed?
Many worms that infest dogs are zoonotic, meaning they can cause disease in people, but people are usually infested by contact with eggs or juvenile worms in the environment rather than direct contact with the dog. It is important to deworm your dog regularly and ensure good hygiene practices.
Can I get worms from my dog licking me?
Worms that affect dogs are not typically transmitted to people by licking, but licking can transmit other types of infectious diseases (e.g. bacterial infections).
If my dog has worms should I get treated?
Intestinal worms are common parasites of dogs but luckily it is rare for people to develop illness from worms that affect dogs. If you are concerned about your health and any symptoms that develop it’s always best to consult your doctor.
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