Intestinal worms can cause serious disease in puppies and dogs of all ages. They have the ability to kill a puppy and make an adult dog unwell. Hence, it is very important for pet-parents to understand the danger that the worms pose to puppies. It may be difficult to know if your puppy has worms. Sometimes, you are not aware that your puppy has worms until he gets sick.
Puppies can develop life threatening disease with the worm infection. Puppies can be infected by four different types of intestinal worms in Australia:
If your puppy has a hookworm infection, you may see soft, tar-like faeces, or diarrhoea with blood stains in the faeces. The puppy can lose a significant amount of blood in the faeces which can result in serious anaemia – a very dangerous condition for a young puppy. Since hookworms are very small they can hardly be seen in the faeces.
Roundworms are large worms measuring up to 18 cm in length. They are normally spread to the puppy while it is in the mother’s uterus. Hence, puppies can be born with a roundworm infection. These worms may cause diarrhoea with blood stained faeces. A heavy burden of roundworm can also block the bowel due to the large size of these worms. Puppies infected with roundworms often have a pot-bellied appearance and a rough coat. Once the puppy has been treated these large roundworms are excreted in the faeces.
Tapeworm infection in puppies often results in the pet rubbing its bottom along the ground. This behaviour is due to the fact that the moving tapeworm segments are irritating the puppy’s anus. It is very easy to identify the segments. They are normally about the size of a rice grain and are very active. They can be seen with the naked eye on the puppy’s fresh droppings or on the fur around their bottom.
The whipworm affects the lower bowel of the puppy. It causes diarrhoea accompanied with mucus and fresh blood.
So what needs to be done to eliminate these common worms from your puppy? The answer is to use a high quality worming treatment such as Canex, Drontal, Popantel or Endogard For Dogs. Puppies should be wormed every two weeks until three months of age, then wormed on a monthly basis till they are six months of age. Puppies older than six months of age and all adult dogs should be wormed every three months.
If you are using a monthly spot-on product to control heartworm and intestinal worms such as Advocate or Revolution, you should give an additional allwormer tablet like Drontal at least every six months, as these spot-ons do not treat all the intestinal worms described above. You should also seek advice from your veterinarian before commencing the treatment to ensure there are no complicating health issues.