Does my dog have worms?

worms in dogs

Intestinal worms in dogs are common and they are also very treatable. Frequent de-worming will kill worms that are present, but it is very easy for your dog to become reinfested. Puppies sometimes arrive at their new owner’s home with worms already present.


Signs you may see if your dog has worms.


Worms or their eggs are visible in your dog’s faeces: Occasionally you may see worms or worm segments in your dog’s faeces.  However, not all kinds of worms are visible to the naked eye, and most eggs are too small to be seen without a microscope, so just because you don’t see worms, it doesn’t mean they are not there.


Your dog is scratching or rubbing its bottom on the ground (scooting) or against furniture: Worms can cause irritation around the dog’s bottom, and the resulting itchiness can make your dog want to scratch the itch. Without arms, and in a hard to reach place, your dog does this by rubbing its bottom on the ground or furniture. However, this scooting behaviour can also be due to issues completely unrelated to worms, such as anal sac problems. See your vet if your dog shows these signs, just to be safe.


Worms are seen in your dog’s vomit: Occasionally dogs with a large number of worms may have worms present in their vomit.


Bloated stomach (pot belly): This is another common sign of worms, often seen in puppies who acquire worms from their mother in the womb or via milk, or by ingesting eggs from a contaminated environment.


Changes in appetite, constant hunger or weight loss: While adult dogs can usually tolerate a small number of worms without obvious ill effects, puppies are more susceptible to the effects of worms. However, in high numbers worms can cause serious health issues such as anaemia and even blockages of the bowel. Intestinal worms compete with your dog for nutrients so your dog may have a change in appetite or losing weight. If you notice any of these signs you should speak with your veterinarian.


Diarrhoea: Worm infestation can cause diarrhoea, however this sign may also be seen in many other conditions, some of which are potentially very serious. Contact your vet if your dog has diarrhoea, particularly if you notice blood in their faeces.


No symptoms: Sometimes there are no obvious signs that your dog has worms. In these cases the only way to diagnose a worm infestation is for a vet to conduct a faecal examination.


If you see any of these signs of worm infestations, or if your dog just seems off-colour, it’s better to be safe and seek veterinary attention.


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