It is believed that many puppies are born with worms as they may be passed on by the mother during gestation. Apart from puppies being infected by their mothers, there are plenty of other ways by which they could get worms. Before looking at the symptoms of worms in dogs, we shall first understand the causes.
Causes of Worms in Dogs
It was a common belief that worms in dogs were transferred by the mother to her puppies in utero. However, there are many parasites in dogs that can infect a puppy through various means.
Puppies that are fed uncooked meat, fish, and other meat products get infected with different types of worms. Apart from meat, puppies are infected by ingesting tapeworms and roundworms larvae from the environment. Rodents and mice are also known to transfer intestinal worms in puppies. Sometimes larvae and eggs of worms are transferred when the puppies come in contact with their mother's coat. It is very easy for puppies to contract an infection in kennels, from other infected dogs. These worms may get transferred by licking, coming in contact with a dog's coat, drinking pans, feeding trays, beds, etc.
What are the Signs of Worms in Puppies?
There are many symptoms that you should watch out for. If left untreated, it may lead to many health problems that may lead to death of the puppy.
One of the first signs is bad breath. Also known as 'puppy breath', it is a very significant sign that indicates the presence of intestinal worms. The parasitic infection may cause many dental problems in the puppies.
Another common symptom is bloating and distended stomach. Despite giving a proper and balanced diet, your puppy will show poor growth and development if it is infected with worms. The puppy will look weak and anemic as the parasites suck the nutrition from the puppies' body. Hookworms feed on the puppy's blood, rendering him severely anemic. This may cause the puppy to develop convulsions and frothing in the mouth. The puppy does not grow into a healthy and strong dog, but grows weaker with time. Finally, the tiny one dies in case of severe infection.
Other symptoms include dry and hot nose, pale lips, gums, watery eyes and hacking cough. The puppy will have red rash or irritated skin that is dry and scaly. He will shed more than normal continuously. He will be hungry continuously and may eat dirt as well as garbage. And some days, the puppy will refuse to eat anything at all. Disturbed sleep and rumbling intestine is one of the symptoms of worms in dogs. The puppy will pass dark-colored urine and have irregular bowel movements. Your active puppy will soon turn dull. He will suffer from seizures, champing jaws, and may develop paralysis of the rear limbs.
A few of the signs and symptoms include the following:
- Dull coat
- Excessive weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Pot belly
- Abnormal coughing
- Extremely low energy level
- White segments seen in stool indicating presence of tapeworm
- Sticky and stringy saliva
Treatment of Worms
If you spot any of these symptoms, take your puppy to a veterinarian immediately. He will carry out a few tests and diagnose the cause. The veterinarian will advise you to buy a de-worming medication that will help treat the puppy. You should get your puppy regularly de-wormed i.e. every 2 weeks after it is about 4 to 12 weeks old. When the puppy is between 12 weeks to 6 months of age, you should take it for de-worming every month. Puppies and dogs above the age of 6 months should be de-wormed every 3 months.
You should remain perpetually alert about the symptoms of worms in dogs as it is a matter of life and death for your pet. Take good care, and shower lots of love and attention on your little pup. This will help keep health problems at bay, and keep your puppy healthy and happy for life.