Your dog doesn't want intestinal worms, but much of his daily activity promotes the spread of parasites. Grooming, playing, eating and drinking commonly pass along parasites, and even in the best of circumstances, Buddy can become infected. Fortunately, a variety of products exist to treat intestinal worms.
Roundworm: Once is Not Enough
Roundworms commonly appear in puppies, who become infected in the womb or from their mother's milk. After the worms hatch in your pup's intestine, they migrate into the lungs until they're coughed into the mouth and swallowed, eventually settling into Buddy's small intestine. All puppies should be wormed, either with a prescribed or over-the-counter medication. Active ingredients for treating roundworm include febantel, pyrantel pamoate milbemycin oxime, fenbendazole, moxidectin and piperazine. The medication basically causes the worm loose its grip on the intestine and be passed in your pup's poop. However, larvae will live on, continuing to migrate, so one dose won't be sufficient. Your vet and the product instructions give you the dosage guidance you need.
From Flea to Tapeworm
The good news is Buddy is a clean guy, careful to groom himself regularly. The bad news could be he ingested a flea infected with the tapeworm parasite and is hosting this unpleasant intestinal worm. The best choice for treating tapeworm in your dog is a product using praziquantel as its active ingredient. Though there are over-the-counter products promising to treat tapeworm, they may not be effective because there are different species of tapeworm. Veterinarian Ronald Hines of 2ndChance.info notes using a praziquantel-based product is the right start to killing any tapeworm; sometimes repeated doses are necessary to break the cycle of reinfection. Without flea control, no medication will work in the long run. Ask your vet to recommend a monthly flea preventive to help keep fleas -- and tapeworm -- away.
To the Vet for Hookworm
If Buddy was outside minding his business and stepped in the wrong place, he may have picked up hookworm, which is able to grab a ride by hooking on to the skin or feet. Nursing mothers can also pass it along to their pups. A dog can contract four different kinds of hookworm, all of which migrate to the dog's intestine to attach and feed on his blood. The medication used to treat these worms depends on what kind of parasite Buddy picked up. Options include fenbendazole, pyrantel pamoate, moxidectin and milbemycin oxime. Hookworm infection can be very serious and requires veterinary supervision. A dog who's severely affected will need veterinary care that may include fluid and electrolyte therapy, blood transfusions, iron supplements and a high protein diet. Heartworm preventives also prevent future infection of hookworm.
Whipping the Whipworm
Whipworm sticks to the lower intestine of your pup after he ingests the eggs, perhaps while digging around in the garden's dirt. Buddy will need a treatment from the vet to kill these worms, requiring a medication with fenbendazole or milbemycin oxime. He'll need at least two treatments of the medicine prescribed by the vet to ensure these hardy parasites disappear. The vet can recommend a heartworm preventive that will also keep whipworm away.
- 2ndChance.info: Intestinal Parasites In Your Dog And What To Do About Them
- PetMD: Intestinal Worms in Dogs (and Cats) 101
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Parasites in Dogs: Worms, Fleas, Ticks, and Mites
- Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Common Intestinal Parasites in Cats and Dogs
- Veterinary Partner: Roundworms: Dogs & Puppies
- Companion Animal Parasite Council: Hookworms
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images