Intestinal worms can affect dogs of any age but are particularly dangerous in young puppies. Little pups don't have the immunity to fight off these parasites, which can multiply in their intestines, causing abdominal pain and discomfort. In some cases, extreme infestations can be fatal. If you suspect that your furry buddy is suffering from intestinal worms of any kind, get him to the vet right away.
Canine Intestinal Worms
Several types of intestinal worms can affect your pup, including roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms, according to WebMD. These small worms live and reproduce inside your pooch's tummy and intestines. Puppies can get worms from their mother while in the womb or through her milk when they're nursing. The little pups also can pick up worms while outdoors because infected dogs shed the parasites and their eggs in their feces. Once inside your pup, the worms latch onto the inside of his intestines and absorb the nutrients he ingests, causing a variety of health issues and frequent discomfort for him.
Puppy Tummy Trouble
The symptoms of intestinal worms in your puppy include vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, a bloated tummy and anemia due to the ulceration of the intestines caused by the worms, according to Dr. Ron Hines of the 2ndchance.info website. Because his tummy is distended, it can cause him abdominal discomfort, as can the damage done to his intestines. In some cases, the worms may lead to painful constipation or even a life-threatening blockage of your pup's intestinal tract if they proliferate unchecked. Unfortunately, intestinal parasites are a common cause of abdominal pain in puppies, according to petMD. If he's in pain, your little pup may cry, whimper, pant or become lethargic.
Deworming Your Pup
To relieve your parasite-ridden pup of the worms causing his discomfort, have him dewormed by your vet. Most vets administer broad-spectrum deworming medications to puppies at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age as a precautionary measure against the most common types of worms, according to PetEducation.com. After 8 weeks old, a monthly combination heartworm and intestinal parasite preventative medication can help protect little Fido from both of these pests. Your vet also will perform a fecal test on your pooch to determine what type of worm he is suffering from and use this information to prescribe a medication designed to target it. With treatment, your pup should feel better as the worms die off.
Considerations and Prevention
Don't try to treat your puppy's worms yourself because broad-spectrum dewormers don't kill all types of intestinal worms, which is why a visit to the vet is necessary. Have all household pets tested for worms if your puppy has them. Prevent your pup from catching worms by regularly cleaning your yard of dog feces. Don't let little Fido wander around public parks unattended and keep him away from the feces of other dogs. Wipe him down with a damp cloth after outings to remove any parasitic eggs that have stuck to his fur. If possible, treat an expectant mother dog for worms to prevent her from spreading them to her puppies.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.