There’s a worm at the bottom of my garden…

Cute DogOne of the facts of life about owning a dog is worming. It’s disturbing to think that the family pet can be a home to the wriggly buggers, especially when they can be detrimental to his health.

Detecting worms early on is important, as there are five different types of worm, and all require different treatment. The worm identification parade is as follows:

Heartworm: This blighter is spread by mosquitos, and can prove to be fatal. The worm destroys heart tissue, which leads to it failing. Unfortunately, there are no early warning signs until it is too late. However, it can be prevented with a regime of medication

Hookworm: Living in your dog’s gut, these horrors can be transmitted to humans. Clamping on to the intestinal lining, they suck blood from their host, and are invisible to the naked eye. An infected pooch would experience bloody stools, weight loss, diarrhoea and irritated skin. A person can contract them merely by walking barefoot on infected soil

Tapeworm: This is similar to the Hookworm, insofar that it lives in the gut, but alarmingly, segments of worm can be seen wriggling around in your dog’s faeces. They may also be seen in his dog basket or bed, and cause abdominal pain, weight loss and itching around the anus. They are contracted by ingesting infected fleas, but thankfully can be completely cleared up with over the counter medicine.

Whipworms: Living in your pet’s colon, these worms can cause anaemia, weight loss and severe flatulence. Bloody stools and a general lack of energy in your dog point to the Whipworm, and although they are the most difficult parasite to get rid of, there are plenty of effective treatments.

Roundworm: The Roundworm is the most common type of worm. They can cause your dog to take on a pot-bellied appearance, especially if he is just a pup. The worm is contracted by eating an infected animal, or by walking on infected soil. This parasite can be found in your dog’s faeces – it looks rather like spaghetti – and if left untreated, can cause a build-up of worms in the gut and lead to death. Roundworm can be passed on to humans, so it is essential to make sure that you practice good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly, and make sure that anyone playing in your garden also washes their hands.

Make sure to regularly wash your dog toys and basket, and be sure to pick up his poop when you take him for a walk. This way, if your dog does have worms, he won’t pass them on to another unfortunate pooch.