Both intestinal worms and heartworms are an ever-present threat, which can lead to life-threatening results if ignored. To keep your pet safe from worms, the best action plan is to administer vet-recommend dewormers and preventives. The following are 7 facts about worms you need to know.
Dogs with Worms Can Be Asymptomatic: In a lot of cases, the clinical signs of worms are hard to miss. Dogs with worms often exhibit symptoms such as severe diarrhea, sudden weight loss, and bloody stool. However, in some cases, symptoms are impossible to spot. Dogs continue to look healthy even though they have a severe worm infestation. This is why routine deworming schedule needs to be maintained to keep your pet safe.
Worms Can Be Passed on to Humans: Some types of intestinal worms can actually be passed from dogs to humans. For example, if accidentally ingested, roundworm eggs can affect human health. These eggs can be present in the backyard or anywhere where there is a presence of dog stool. Young kids are especially susceptible who sometimes develop the habit of eating dirt or accidentally getting dirt in their mouths. Once roundworm egg enters the system it can quickly multiply and lead to a range of different health problems which may include permanent blindness.
Ringworm is Not a Worm: Yup, ringworms are not worms at all. They are not even caused by worms in any way. In fact, they are an unofficial term for a type of fungal infection. These fungal skin infections are usually round, which is probably how they got their name.
Deworming Needs to Be Done Periodically for It to Remain Effective: Unlike some vaccines which need to be given once in a lifetime, there are no one-off dewormer. This means you need to periodically administer deworming meds to protect your pet from intestinal worms. In most cases, a single dose of preventive medication protects a dog from worms for 30 days.
Worm Medication Can Be Given Topically or Orally: When it comes deworming medications, you have two common options, oral and topical. Spot-on wormers like the popular Advantage Multi Dogs solution are available in single-dose plastic vials and tubes. This liquid medication needs to applied directly on to the skin (back of the neck so it cannot be licked off). There are also oral pills which need to be fed to the dog once every month.
Stool Sampling Is the Go-To Test to Detect Intestinal Worms: In most cases, vets would recommend a stool sample test to confirm worm infestation. Apart from spotting actual worms in the stool, vets also look out for bloody stool, which can be a sign of hookworm infestation. The collected stool is dissolved in a special solution and then studied under the microscope.
Heartworm Test Can Be Negative Even If Your Dog Has Worms: Heartworm antigen tests can detect the presence of adult heartworms. This means if your dog is bitten by a heartworm infected mosquito, it may take as much as 6 months (till the time the larvae becomes adult worms) to show up on the test. To be safe make sure to get your dog tested every 12 months.