It’s incredibly important for pet parents to take their dogs or cats to veterinary care regularly. There are many diseases and infections that we don’t see until they start affecting our furry friends severely.
Using parasitic infections as an example, the effects could range from diarrhea to anemia to even death. Fortunately, as long as you keep an eye on your dog’s behavior and mood and take them to the vet when you notice something’s off about them, your dog will be fine, and veterinarians will be able to treat them successfully.
Types of Internal Parasites in Dogs
There are two types of intestinal parasites in dogs and cats. The first type consists of wormlike parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. The second type of intestinal parasite includes single-celled organisms that are often invisible to the human eye.
Here at a few of the most common types of intestinal worms in dogs.
Among intestinal parasites that can infect dogs and cats, roundworms are the most common. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, they are the most common type of parasite in the world.
They live in the intestines feeding on the food the host consumes. Given that their eggs travel through the host’s digestive system into the dog’s feces, they don’t need a host to spread. However, if an infected female dog has puppies, she may infect her puppies through her milk.
Roundworms affect puppies more severely than fully grown dogs. They eat a portion of the nutrients the host consumes, which causes intestinal problems, malnutrition, and an overall stop in the puppy’s growth.
Similarly to roundworms, hookworms are one of the most common types of intestinal parasites among cats and dogs. They also spread their eggs through feces, and mothers can also affect their puppies through their infected milk. A different aspect is that hookworms can infect a dog by breaking through its skin and entering the intestines.
Once in the intestines, they bite into the inner walls and begin sucking the host’s blood. Once again, just like roundworms, hookworms are a particular threat to puppies. They can suck enough blood to cause anemia and malnutrition. If not treated fast enough, the issue could turn severe enough to become a life-threatening situation.
Another common parasite is the whipworm. With only around 6mm in length, whipworms are some of the smallest intestinal parasites out there. They are, in fact, whip-like in shape, and they live and attach themselves to the walls of the large intestine. Just like the other internal parasites mentioned, their eggs pass through the digestive system to end up in the dog’s feces.
Symptoms of infection start to appear once a considerable amount of whipworms are living in the large intestine. They include diarrhea, anemia, weight loss, bloody stool, and more.
How to Get Rid of Parasites in Dogs?
While there are some remedies that you can either make or buy for home treatment, it is highly recommended that you take your dog to a proper vet emergency clinic. Lack of proper treatment could risk not eliminating your dog’s internal parasites completely or at all.
Your dog’s 24-hour veterinarian will most likely recommend immediately starting a deworming program. The specific medication will depend highly on the type of parasite living in your dog’s intestine. Generally speaking, it will be an oral medication.
For heartworms specifically, you may need to restrict your dog’s activity level. Running, jumping, and anything that’s not resting could increase the damage your dog’s heart and lungs will receive.
Symptoms of Parasites in Dogs
Different types of parasites will cause many different symptoms in dogs. It’s important to remember that if you think your dog suffers from a parasitical infection, you should take them to a 24-hour veterinary hospital immediately. Symptoms often don’t start appearing until there is a large number of parasites inside the host’s body, and many times, the symptoms themselves represent a danger to your dog’s overall health. In severe cases, the symptoms could be life-threatening.
Some of the symptoms to look out for are:
- Loss of appetite
- Inflamed stomach
- Upset stomach
- Weight loss
- Shaggy coat of hair
Can I Get Parasites From My Dog?
Yes, you definitely can get parasites from your dog, so it’s time to get cleaning. As mentioned previously, many types of parasites leave their eggs in feces which then are in contact with many surfaces and living beings.
If you are not careful around your dog’s feces or the areas around it, you may accidentally end up getting worm eggs on your hand, which could then possibly move into your mouth and inside your body if you are not careful.
The effects of parasites in humans will depend on the specific type of worm. The severity will vary in each case, but it can range from simple skin inflammation and itchy spots to permanent nerve damage and even blindness.
Best Help for the Best Pet
If you notice some strange behaviors with your pet and start searching for a “24-hour vet near me”, then stop looking. Here at Brightcare Veterinary Group, we are ready to treat your pet at any hour of the day, any day. Visit us here when needed, or schedule your appointment for a regular check-up here.