HomeLifestyleDoes your dog have a leaky gut? It could be worms

    Does your dog have a leaky gut? It could be worms

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    When you think of worms roaming around the garden, you may think of the pink, wriggly tubes found in fresh soil. That would be an earthworm.

    And while most garden worms are harmless, there are other types that you should be more concerned about. Unlike earthworms, intestinal worms can not only make dogs sick, but can infect humans too.

    “Intestinal worms are a type of parasite that live in a dog’s intestine and feed off blood and other nutrients that they find there, which can cause diseases that range from mild illness to potentially fatal outcomes, especially in younger pups,” says Dr Michelle Enslin, Resident Veterinarian at Boehringer Ingelheim.

    Dr Enslin furthermore states that there are four common types of worms that dog owners should be aware of; Roundworms, a long, white, spaghetti-like worm that lives in the intestinal tract; Hookworms, shorter than roundworms and have sharp, biting mouth parts that they use to attach to the intestinal wall to feed on blood and in the case of severe infestations, cause fatal levels of blood loss; Whipworms, that burrow their thin heads into the intestinal wall and are an important cause of disease, even in older dogs; and Tapeworms, which are commonly transmitted by fleas.

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    Intestinal worms are relatively easy to contract, and even some of our most well-cared-for furry friends can get them simply through their day-to-day activities. One way is through ingestion; worm eggs and larvae can be found in any environment where a dog has released itself. Dogs that simply sniff around grass and dirt can accidentally ingest eggs stuck to them from the environment.

    Intestinal worms, like hookworms, can also be spread through a dog’s skin when they come into contact with a contaminated environment. Fleas infected with flea tapeworm can be ingested by dogs and spread that way. Puppies can get worms from their mother in the womb or when feeding if their mother is infected. Dogs that go hunting or scavenge dead animals are also at risk of becoming infested with worms.

    So how can you tell if your dog has worms?

    According to Dr Enslin, sometimes, worms can be seen in dog faeces or vomit. But the best way to check for worms is through lab testing by your veterinarian. They are able to diagnose infestations, as worm eggs are not visible to the naked eye.

    Luckily, you don’t need to pick up your pup’s faeces and view it under a magnifying glass at home to know if your pup might have an infestation. There are some common symptoms that dogs display when they are experiencing a worm infestation that owners can look out for:

    With hookworm, diarrhoea is often bloody, and whipworms may cause diarrhoea with mucus. In any event of your puppy experiencing diarrhoea, they may have intestinal worms, and it’s worth asking your vet for advice.

    A bloated stomach is another common symptom of worms in puppies, as well as an itchy bottom, as some worms make that area itchy, and dogs attempt to scratch that itch by rubbing against objects or the floor.

    Unfortunately, it is also common for dogs to not show symptoms at all, especially in tapeworm. That’s why it is always important to go for regular check-ups with your vet, even if your dog seems perfectly fine.

    While dogs will be dogs, and their natural lifestyle will entail a happy exposure to the natural world, there are easily available treatments.

    Our dogs are nothing less than a part of the family, and just like every other family member, we take care of them when they are sick and try our best to keep them healthy. It’s our responsibility to give them the best quality of life possible, so they can go on doing what they do best, being our best friends.

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