Signs and symptoms of worms in dogs

Written by Jennifer Pitts

As there are many types of parasites, there are also many different symptoms of worms in dogs. All worms can survive for long periods of time in a dog’s body before we’re even aware of they’re presence, and most can transfer to humans. Regularly checking your dog’s mess can tell you a lot of things. Look for anything that is abnormal, blood, slime, diarrhea, constipation, etc. Without hesitation always take your dog to your vet should you be suspicious of parasites.

Understanding symptoms of worms in dogs

  • Check your dog’s poop, sometimes they’re visible, and you can also see them wriggling around the anus.
  • Do they have an intense appetite? Worms in dogs stomachs eat their food, steal their nutrients and make them very hungry?
  • Do they have diarrhea and blood mixed in with it?
  • Weight loss is apparent even though they’re eating more than usual.
  • Do they have an itchy anus?
  • Bloating or swelling of the stomach.
  • They may even appear weak and lethargic.

Always consult your vet for a proper diagnosis if you are doubtful about your dog’s symptoms. There are many dog treatments on the market today, some are natural wormers, some can be bought over the counter and some are prescription medications. For more information on worming treatments go HERE.

Campylobacter -  symptoms of worms in dogsCampylobacter or Campylobacter jejuni.
The symptoms of this bacteria are: diarrhea possibly with blood, fever, cramping and vomiting, these are produce by the onset of toxins which invades the immune system. It can spread to humans, those with ill health will be at greater risk of becoming very sick. The produces a bacterial disease, which is connected to the gastrointestinal track area.

Canine Corona - symptoms of worms in dogsCanine Corona is from the Coronaviridae family.
This contagious virus duplicates in the small intestines, although this is a mild disease, it does make dogs more susceptible to the Pavo Virus, which can kill. The Canine Corona type l resides in the small intestines and Canine Corona type ll is located in the lungs, it is spread through infected poop. The symptoms are vomiting, severe weight loss, and diarrhea.

Coccidia - symptoms of worms in dogsCoccidia Isospora or Coccidiasina.
Symptoms are diarrhea, lack of appetite, weakness, anaemia and dehydration. These parasites are ingested from eating infected rodents, which can be passed onto dogs. They are contagious through handling dog poop and so can be passed onto humans. These parasites particularly latch onto vulnerable puppies or humans with compromised immune systems.

Cryptosporidiosis - symptoms of worms in dogsCryptosporidiosis or Crypto.
This is a tiny one cell parasitic disease and is connected to the gastrointestinal. These parasites are so minute that they can’t even be seen through a standard microscope. The symptoms are slimy, watery poop, feverish, cramping, and vomiting. This can be passed on to humans, people with a compromised immune system can be severely affected, which can be especially fatal for people with HIV and AIDS.

Cutaneous larva migrans - symptoms of worms in dogsCutaneous larval migrans or Sand worms.
This is a parasitic disease in humans passed on from infected dog poop. The infection begins with the ancylostomatidae hookworm family and is easy to catch should you walk around barefoot. The little parasite bury themselves under the skin and wriggle around, it’s not difficult to miss them. Symptoms include severe painful itching, if scratched this can lead to further bacterial infection.

Echinococcus granulosus - symptoms of worms in dogsEchinococcus Granulosus or Hydatid / Hyper and Dog Tapeworm.
This 2mm to 7mm  parasite lives in the dog’s intestines, they are from the tapeworm family. Humans can catch them if their hands are not washed. Once a human contracts this parasite, it is possible to develop Hydatid Disease, which needs to be treated surgically. Symptoms include enlarged liver and ruptured cysts.

Giardia - symptoms of worms in dogsGiardia
This parasitic disease produces symptoms of diarrhea, gas, bloating, and weight loss. The excrement could appear slimy; have a fetid odor and stools are pale in color. Dogs can have this parasite for many years before symptoms occur. Giardia can live outside the intestines in poop for many months and is easily transferred from human to human.

Parvo Virus - symptoms of worms in dogsParvo Virus type 2 CPV2.
The virus is very contagious through indirect or direct contact; it can kill a dog within 72 hours. It affects the stomach and heart muscle with symptoms such as weight loss, loss of appetite, and vomiting. It is contracted from eating poop, and walking in contaminated poop whereby your dog attempts to clean his paws after a walk. Vaccination is vital and puppies are at greater risk.

Salmonella - symptoms of worms in dogsSalmonella or Salmonellosis bacterium.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can spread from animal to human. It is usually contracted through food and water; once ingested, it can spread into the intestines and blood stream. Salmonella is expelled through an animals poop and can survive without a host for some time. If humans accidentally touch the poop, they can become infected and if not treated death is imminent.

Toxocariasis - symptoms of worms in dogsToxocariasis or Visceral Larva Migrans (VLM).
Toxocariasis is quite rare because humans have developed Toxocara antibodies. This infection is caused by roundworm parasites, which can be contracted from infected poop. Symptoms include stomach ache, coughing, and headaches. If you suspect you or your dog have ingested this parasite you must visit your doctor to avoid risk of blindness.

Roundworms - Symptoms of worms in dogsRoundworm or Toxocara Canis, Toxascaris Leonina.
Symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, and can be seen in their poop. These worms can reproduce quickly and can grow very long. If it’s not detected early they will congest the stomach making your dog look very bloated, which can eventually kill them. If you have a garden, then the soil can contain the eggs for many years. Puppies can be born with worms if the mother was infested.

Tapeworm - Symptoms of worms in dogsTapeworm or Dipylidium caninum.
Symptoms are stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, shaking, loss of appetite and weakness due to nutrients being lost. Tapeworms are easy to spot in poop; they look little wriggling white rice and usually itch more at night. Your dog can become infested with these dog worms by swallowing fleas.

Heartworms - Symptoms of worms in dogsHeartworm or Dirofilaria immitis. Symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing, fainting, lethargy, weight loss, fever and stomach swelling. Dogs can acquire these worms from infected mosquitoes, so if you live in an infested area, always take precautions. In the UK, you should not find mosquitoes so heart worms are very rare. These dog worms destroy the heart muscle which will lead to heart failure, and eventually death.

Lungworms - Symptoms of worms in dogsLungworm or Angiostrongylus vasorum.
Symptoms are respiratory; these worms live in the windpipe and are coughed up or pooped out. The adult lung worm lives in the blood vessels from the lungs to the heart. If a dog eats infected fox poop, snail or a slug, then your dog could become infected.

Hookworms - Symptoms of worms in dogsHookworms or Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense, Uncinaria stenocephala. Symptoms are weight loss, anaemia, blood in stools and skin irritations. These ugly creatures live in the intestines, and hook themselves onto the intestinal lining which causes bleeding. Puppies can contract these unsightly worms when the mother is pregnant and through feeding. If you suspect your dog has these creatures, you must contact your vet.

Whipworms - Symptoms of worms in dogsWhipworms or Trichuris vulpis.
These creatures produce symptoms of diarrhea with blood, anaemia, lethargy, and slime in their poop. They live in the intestines and suck on your dog’s blood like little vampires. Unlike other dog worms, these can’t be seen with the naked eye. If you suspect your dog has these, you must consult your vet.

How do dogs get worms?

  • Does your dog eat raw wildlife? Eating uncooked food does have its downside.
  • Walking or running around in long grass, briar, muddy areas, ponds or lakes, etc.
  • Worms can be passed on from dog to dogs and puppies.
  • Eating slugs are the major cause of lung worms.

All worms can survive for long periods of time in a dog’s body before we’re even aware of it. It is possible for most of them to transfer to humans through accidentally touching dog poop or stepping in it. For more information check out Oops! Was that dog poop you just stepped in?

About the author

Jennifer Pitts

I love pets and I love animals. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats and it's not enough for me.

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