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Everyone wants to give their dogs the best possible life that they can. They want to care for their dog as much as they would care for their family members. It is why you need to provide healthy food to your dog and check its health status.

Worms are a common issue that dogs encounter. It might sound awkward, but those slimy wiggly beings may have infested your dog’s system. So, it’s time you pay attention to this matter and treat it.

There are many types of worms, such as hookworms, tapeworms, and pinworms. This post focuses on pinworms.  If you have ever wondered, ‘how do I know if my dog has pinworms?’, look no further, as the answer is right here!

What Are Pinworms?

Pinworms are a type of roundworms that are small, thin, and white. They are also known as threadworms and live in the human rectum and colon.

The length of the pinworm is about the size of a staple. Female pinworms exit the intestine via the anus and deposit their eggs on the surrounding skin area.

Pinworms and other roundworms spread in feces or during pregnancy. They sap the nutrients from the host.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Pinworms?

Each parasite has a different impact on dogs and shows various symptoms. However, some common warning signs indicate the existence of worms, including pinworms, in a dog’s body. The following are these symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Pot-bellied look
  • Poor coat appearance
  • Blood in stool
  • Nutritional deficiencies and anemia
  • Intestinal blockage or pneumonia
  • Coughing
  • Scooting
  • Visible worms in feces or fur

Symptoms Of Dogs With Worms Based On The Type Of Worm

General symptoms that indicate your dog has worms include diarrhea, vomiting and coughing. However, some warning signs indicate your dog has an infection from a specific type of worm. 

Here are some of the common symptoms of specific parasite infections in dogs:

  • Roundworms: Vomiting
  • Tapeworms: Rapid weight loss and spaghetti-like worms in feces
  • Hookworms: Pale gums
  • Whipworms: Weight loss and diarrhea

Sometimes, it may be hard to identify that you have a parasite infection. However, the above symptoms could help your vet understand what is going on with your dog. These primary symptoms will help him identify the cause and observe your dog.

These symptoms could indicate another disease in your dog, so you need to contact your vet immediately once you identify them. 

How To Diagnose Worms In Dogs

Most worms, including pinworms, should be diagnosed by looking for eggs through microscopic observation of the dog’s stool sample.

The vet will ask you to bring a stool sample, especially if your dog shows the above symptoms. Even if your dog doesn’t show any of the above symptoms, you must take a stool sample to the vet for your dog’s annual checkup.

Sometimes worms can be detected by carrying out a blood test. In certain situations, an ultrasound scan, radiograph, or echocardiogram is necessary to detect any anomalies.

During the early stages of parasite infections, dogs show very few to no symptoms. However, the earlier you start treatment, the more chances there are to achieve a higher success rate.

That is why it is advisable to take a stool sample when taking your dog for its annual testing. The vet might prescribe different medications based on the type and intensity of the parasite infection.

How To Prevent Dogs From Getting Worms

The best way to keep your dog free of parasite infection is to take a preventative approach. Here is how you can prevent your dog from getting pinworms.

  • Stay up-to-date on worm medications.
  • Remember to clean up after your dog, especially when you visit public places. It will reduce the chances of transmission.
  • Take your dog for regular checkups to your vet and keep an eye out for any noticeable symptoms.

Here is some preventative measure to reduce the risk of worms in your dog:

  • Perform fecal examinations between two to four times a year.
  • Give initial treatment to every puppy that is three weeks old.
  • Clean up feces in your backyard and surroundings a few times a week.
  • Promptly dispose of feces with sanitary gloves and sealable bags in public parks and playgrounds.
  • Stress on hygiene and sanitary-related matters even at home, which limits exposure to fecal matter and contaminated soil.

How Do Dogs Get Worms?

Puppies generally get pinworms and other parasite infections passed down from their mothers. Adult dogs could get them based on how they interact with their environment.

Here are a few ways in which dogs can contract worms:

  • Coming into contact with dog feces or vomit where worm eggs grow
  • Flea, tick, and mosquito bites and ingestion
  • Licking their fur or skin
  • Consuming infected prey such as birds, reptiles, and rodents
  • Sniffing, rolling in, licking, or stepping in contaminated soil, sand, or grass
  • Puppies can contract from drinking contaminated milk from their mothers
  • Coming into contact with an infected animal

How Does Worm Treatment Work?

Once the vet confirms the existence of worms from a stool sample or blood test, it is time to treat the condition.

During deworming, the vet will administer medication that can kill the worms. It is usually done orally or via injection and is completely safe for your dog. Ensure your dog stays calm while doing this. 

Once treatment is done, the worms will pass from your dog’s body. You will be able to detect the worms in your dog’s stool. Most of it will be lifeless. Although a few might show some movement, eventually, they will die.

The most important thing to remember is to take your dog to the vet for regular checkups and stay on top of the medication he prescribes.

Deworming Puppies And Dogs

There is nothing more exciting than bringing a puppy or new dog home. However, it is vital to deworm homed puppies and adult dogs in the following manner.

Puppies

Deworming treatment for puppies starts at three weeks and continues as the vet recommends. After the initial treatment, it is recommended to carry out a monthly heartworm preventative that can also prevent other intestinal parasites.

It is the beginning of an annual dewormer schedule that your vet can monitor and adjust as required.

Adult Dogs

Once adult dogs are done with the dewormer treatment at the puppy stages, the next is to receive monthly preventative treatment. In addition, it is recommended to conduct 2-4 tests within the year.

Newly-Acquired Dogs

It is recommended to deworm any dog immediately upon acquisition, regardless of age or status. It needs to be followed by a monthly dewormer treatment, as a vet recommends.

Types Of Worms In Dogs

There are many types of worms, and the following are the common types found in dogs.

Roundworms

Are the most common type of worms found in dogs. Pinworms are a type of roundworm that can read up to 3 to 5 inches in adulthood. 

Roundworms can be transmitted in many ways, including via nursing, an infected animal, or coming into contact with the infected feces of any animal. They resemble a piece of wet spaghetti.

Tapeworms

Have long, flat bodies that can grow up to 8 inches. They generally occur when dogs ingest a host that carries tapeworm eggs. Common beings that carry tapeworm eggs are fleas and birds.

Hookworms

Are the smallest worm type found in dogs. They can grow up to one inch in length. They feed on blood and live in the small intestine.

Hookworm can cause anemia in dogs, which can be fatal for dogs of all ages, primarily puppies. They are transmitted from feces and can even affect people and other animals.

Whipworms

Are approximate ¼” long and live in the colon and cecum. They are known to be one of the most harmful worms and can cause serious damage to the above organs.

Heartworms

Live in the heart and the pulmonary arteries. They are primarily transmitted via mosquitos and can live in many parts of the body, finally coming to rest in the circulatory system.

Although they are treatable, they can prove fatal if not diagnosed during the initial stages of infection.

Ringworms

Also known as dermatophytosis is a fungus-based skin disease that can result in sores and lesions in the epidermal layer. 

An infection of dead layers of skin, nails, and hair causes the disease. It is a curable disease that takes time and could be very painful to dogs.

Are Worms In Dogs A Danger To Their Owners?

Specific worms like roundworms could be dangerous to humans. It is especially dangerous for children who play in areas that dogs, cats, and raccoons frequent. Outdoor sandpits could also be litter boxes for animals with intestinal parasite infections. 

Be particularly mindful when children play in outdoor areas frequented by these animals. Ensure to wash their hands well after playtime.

Conclusion

Vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss are common symptoms of pinworm infection in dogs.

If your dog has a worm infection, ensure you deworm it and keep up to date on medication prescribed by the vet.

Remember to take your dog to the vet for regular checkups, even if you don’t suspect a worm infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Get Rid Of Pinworms In Dogs?

Deworming involves administering worm medication, recommended by the vet, to kill the worms. It will help get rid of pinworms in dogs.

Can You See Pinworms In Dog Poop?

Most of the time, you won’t be able to see pinworms in your dog’s stool. You need to give a stool sample to your vet to be tested for pinworms.

How Do Dogs Get Pinworms?

Dogs can get pinworms by drinking contaminated milk while nursing, sniffing, eating, or licking contaminated soil.

By Alyssa Day

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