There are a variety of worms that dogs can carry and they vary as to how they affect our dogs. Worming frequency will depend on your dogs lifestyle, dogs that live with young children, on farms, or those that have a high lungworm risk should be wormed regularly; whereas many other dogs will only need to be wormed every 3 months or so.
Not all wormers will kill also worms so it is important to get advice to use the correct wormer.
Below are the more common worms that can affect our dogs.
- Echinococcus tapeworm; this is picked up from farm animals and in the dog has only very mild effects, however we can pick up the eggs from the dogs fur or the environment and these develop into cysts in our body and are very dangerous. Therefore it is best to worm farm dogs every 6 weeks with the drug Praziquantel which is in Milbemax, Drontal and other wormers; to prevent this.
- Dipylidium tapeworm; this is carried by fleas and can be picked up from the dog (or cat) eating immature fleas. You can often see the tapeworm segments like grains of rice that move, on the animals bottom. The tapeworm can also be picked up and infect humans as well. It is easily treated by tapeworm treatment – Praziquantel and it is also important to treat for fleas as well.
- Toxocara round worm, can be passed from mother to pup when pregnant and also through the milk, as well as from the environment. It can be life threatening for puppies because the worms are quite large and can block the gut in young pups. Importantly if children ingest the worm eggs it can cause blindness as the immature worm migrates through the body and can affect the back of the eye. All wormers if used correctly should kill this worm.
- Angiostrongylus lungworm is becoming more common and can be life threatening for dogs. It can cause a variety of signs from poor growth, coughing, to severe bleeding problems. It is picked up through eating slugs and snails and is more common in younger dogs. There are not many wormers that have a good effect against this worm. Regular worming with Milbemax will keep the problems down, or using Advocate or prinovox will kill these worms.
- Oslerus lungworm is less serious than Angiostrongylus but can cause chronic coughing as it forms nodules in the wind pipe. It is passed from dog to dog with no intermediate host. It can be treated by a long course of Panacur, usually in the region of a month.
- Hookworms and Whipworms are round worms that passed from dog to dog. They can both cause diarrhoea and colitis, with mucous and sometimes blood in the faeces. Most wormers will kill these worms.
- Dirofilaria heart worm. This does not occur naturally in the UK but occurs on the continent. It is transmitted by mosquito bites and only affects dogs (and cats). It can cause fatal heart disease and although it can be treated, some dogs will die because of the treatment as dead worms will then affect the lungs. Prevention is best, so if you are travelling with your dog in Europe, monthly worming with Stronghold or Advocate will prevent the worms from growing in the heart.