Just great, my dog has worms, now what

It can be a devastating and disgusting diagnosis when a Veterinarian tells you that your dog has Worms. Even worse, you may actually see the Worms coming out of your dog or in their stool, if they have Roundworms or Tapeworms. Trust me when I say that that can be a nearly traumatic experience. Also disturbing, some of these Worms can even be transmitted from your dog to you, which is called zoonosis. These include Roundworms and Hookworms, so you should take extra precautions and follow your veterinarians advice to the letter, if you dog has one of these parasites.

Each type of wormy parasite requires a different treatment or medication, and will display different symptoms. Every dog owner should at least have a working knowledge about the warning signs of a Worm infestation and the treatments involved. Here are the five types of Worms that may infect your dog.

1. Roundworms- There are two types of Roundworms and they are the most common Worm infestation in dogs. The symptoms of Roundworms include: pot-belly appearance, diarrhea, vomiting, dull coat and weight loss. You may even see this type of Worm in your dogs vomit or feces. They look like pieces of spaghetti up to 6 inches long or longer. This type of Worm is usually treated with oral medication, with follow-up fecal screenings. This is one of the types of Worms that can be transferred to humans, but good hygiene will usually eliminate this threat.

2. Hookworms- Hookworms can not be seen with the naked eye, so they are usually diagnosed by your Vet with a test. The symptoms of Hookworms include: bloody stool, anemia, weight loss, pale gums, diarrhea and low energy level. This parasite is usually treated with oral medication, follow-up fecal screenings, and in the worst case, a blood transfusion. This is the other type of Worm that can be transmitted to humans. Good hygiene and cleaning up after your infected dog can prevent a human infection.

3. Tapeworms- Common Tapeworm symptoms include abdominal pain, nervousness, severe itching around the anus, vomiting and weight loss. You may also see this Worm in your dogs feces. The broken sections, which may still be moving, will give the dogs stool a rice like appearance. Tapeworms must usually be treated with a prescription oral or injection dewormer medication. Over-the-counter dewormer medication is usually not strong enough to clear this kind of Worm infestation.

4. Whipworms- This Worm can not be seen by the naked eye, and must be diagnosed through testing. Symptoms of a Whipworm infestation include anemia, weight loss, flatulence, diarrhea with blood or mucus in the stool and lack of energy. These Worms can be difficult to treat with over-the-counter medication, but there are very effective prescription treatments.

5. Heartworms- Although easily preventable, untreated Heartworm infections are potential fatal. The symptoms usually do not show up until the last stage of the disease, and include pot-belly, coughing, lack of energy and dull coat. Because symptoms do not appear until its too late, it is best to use a over-the-counter preventative medication to stop these Worms before they endanger your pets health.

Having a Wormy dog can be an unpleasant experience, but in almost all cases there is an effective treatment available to help your favorite dog live a healthy and Worm free life.