pug wrapped up in a blanket

If you’re a dog owner, it’s important to understand the possible symptoms of worm infection in your dog. The sooner you recognize the signs, the faster you will be able to visit our Village West Veterinary animal hospital in Chicago to heal your companion. Worms may be small, but these little worm parasites can have a huge health consequence for your dog, and possibly even for you! All infections should be taken very seriously.

Hookworms

Hookworms are intestinal parasites that live in the small intestine. Their mouths act as hooks, latching onto the intestinal walls and feeding off the tiny blood vessels in the intestinal lining. Unfortunately, if a mother dog has hookworms this means her pups will likely have them as well. A puppy with hookworms can easily develop anemia, which can be fatal. Bring your pet to Village West Veterinary animal hospital in Chicago right away if you see signs of weakness, itchy skin, poor growth, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, or pale gums in your puppy. Adult dogs can get hookworms, too, and so can PEOPLE! Remember to ALWAYS use good hygiene and get regular fecal checks for your adult dogs. Puppies should ideally have two clean fecal exams and multiple dewormings before we can feel better about them being cleared of hookworms.

Heartworms

These worms are spread to dogs through mosquito bites. They can grow to be up to 14 inches long, and live in the heart and pulmonary arteries of your dog. Long term inflammation in the blood vessels disrupts how blood is carried from the heart to the lungs and causes lung scarring and heart disease. Obviously, these are vital organs for your dog’s health. If gone untreated these parasites will eventually cause coughing, respiratory discomfort, congestive heart failure and even death. If your dog is coughing, having breathing trouble, or symptoms of fatigue, it is vital to visit us at Village West Veterinary animal hospital in Chicago as soon as possible. A yearly heartworm test is essential, and we encourage a regular heartworm preventative to hopefully avoid infection before it can happen. Newly adopted dogs should always be tested right away.

Roundworms

Your dog can be affected with roundworms through feces or during pregnancy/nursing. Almost all dogs have roundworms at some point in their lives—and we find this often in puppies and rescue dogs. It is a serious infection that may cause diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, inappetence and other signs of poor health. Three to four rounds of deworming medication in a timely way can help clear these worms from the intestines. A veterinarian at Village West Veterinary animal hospital in Chicago can look at fecal samples from your dog to check for the presence of roundworm eggs, then treat accordingly. All puppies should have a fecal checked at least once, or even twice, to find these worms and ensure they are removed. This is yet another worm that people can get, so always use good hygiene!

Whipworms

Whipworms attach themselves to the small area between your dog’s large and small intestine and suck on the blood of their hosts. A common side effect of this infection is slimy stool or diarrhea, straining to defecate, and if untreated can possibly be fatal. If your dog is infected, a series of dewormings from our Village West Veterinary animal hospital in Chicago will likely be effective at eliminating the worms, but treatment can take quite a while. People generally won’t get this species of worm from their dog, but we do have our own worm in this same family!

Tapeworms

The most common dog tapeworms usually come from ingesting fleas. The worms develop in the small intestines and can grow up to 28 inches in length. Their head end is attached to the intestinal lining, stealing precious nutrients from your dog. The long tail end is a chain of segments, or proglottids, which are released, one at a time, into your dog’s feces. You might see these rice-sized proglottids moving on your dog’s stool while you’re walking your dog, or you might see them on the fur under your dog’s tail. Sometimes a fecal exam will reveal these worm segments, but not always. Nonetheless, a fecal exam at Village West Veterinary animal hospital in Chicago might reveal other parasites at the same time, and we will need to treat the tapeworms and anything else we find. Humans could potentially get this type of tapeworm, but not directly from your dog’s stool, and getting it from fleas would be highly unlikely. Other types of tapeworms are possible, depending on where your dog has spent time, but these are less common.

Other Parasites

Worms are not the only parasites that your dog can be carrying. Other common parasites are giardia and coccidia, both or which are invisible to the eye, and these can cause diarrhea in dogs at any age. Please contact Village West Veterinary animal hospital in Chicago if your dog has diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, inappetence, or any other symptom that suggests it’s not feeling well.

Village West Veterinary animal hospital in Chicago has a broad range of antibiotics and dewormers at appropriate dosages for a wide range of parasite infections, and we have the quality veterinary care to help get your dog back to health and comfort!