Worms are a fact of doggy life, and not only are they unpleasant to think about, they can present some very real risks to your puppy too.
There are several types of worms, and those you should be aware of as a puppy owner include roundworms, tapeworms and lungworm.
Roundworms & tapeworms
The worms most people treat their dogs for are roundworms and tapeworms. These are either passed on to puppies by their mothers during pregnancy, or from dog to dog by licking, interaction with infected faeces, or in the case of tapeworms by eating raw rabbit.
All puppies are born with roundworms.
They live in their intestines and eat the food that your puppy eats. The main symptom of them having taken up residence is diarrhoea.
It is a highly unpleasant condition, and it’s very important that puppies are treated from roundworm regularly from the time they are just a few weeks old.
When you speak to your puppy’s breeder, find out exactly when they have been wormed, how regularly and using what brand. This will be important information to pass on to your vet when you bring your pup home.
Lungworm is a different issue to the ones discussed above, but one that you must nonetheless be very pro-active about.
It is a parasite that takes up residence inside slugs and snails living innocently in people’s back gardens.
Now puppies, whilst adorable, are really quite grubby. They will often eat things which you or would consider frankly disgusting. Amongst these unsavoury items are slugs and snails.
If your puppy eats, deliberately or accidentally even, an infected slug or snail then the parasite is passed on to them.
Although lungworm was pretty rare in the UK it seems to be becoming more of a widespread problem.
Diagnosis and treatment
Puppies with roundworm will usually show signs through vomiting, runny stools or having a distended stomach. But you should treat your puppy regularly regardless, so you shouldn’t have to see evidence of their presence.
Popular brand wormers include Drontal for tapeworm and Panacur for roundworm. Depending upon the brand you use this can come as a pill or paste. Follow your vets advice on how to administer them correctly.
Lungworm is not very easy to diagnose. Coming with a variety of inconclusive symptoms. So the best way to make sure that your dog is not suffering from this nasty parasite is to be pro-active about worming.
Regular wormers will not work against lungworm, so you need to get one that actions this specifically too. Especially if your pup is prone to munching on anything whilst he’s outside.
Panacur is the main brand that produces a lungworm targeting wormer, although others are available. Your vet will be able to advise you on their recommended course of treatment, and how regularly you should be using it.
My Dog Doesn’t Have Worms
There is a common misconception that if your dog has worms, it will be obvious. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case most of the time.
Just because you can’t see evidence of worms in his faeces, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them. The levels of the parasite in his intestines has to be quite high before you will see the proof passed on your lawn!
So don’t just assume that your dog is clear, be pro-active about worming.
As a new puppy owner, and later as a dog owner too, it is your responsibility to ensure that their worming is kept up to date. Worms may seem like a small potential issue, but their effects can be fatal to puppies. Not just this, but worms can be passed on to humans too.
Remember, puppies are very licky, and children love puppy kisses. Kids are vulnerable to worms just like your puppy is, and the symptoms can be even more severe in humans than in dogs. Proper worming along with good hygiene is the only way to keep them all safe.
Choices of Wormers
There are a range of wormers on the market.
Don’t be tempted to just go with the cheapest option, as it may be less effective or not cover all the worm varieties that your puppy is exposed to.
Consult your Veterinarian and ask for her advice on the best brand, and how regularly you should be administering it.
Worms are an inevitable part of puppyhood, and one that you need to be pro-active about. Making sure your puppy is wormed regularly from the time he is a few weeks old, and continuing this as advised by your vet into adulthood, is incredibly important.
If you are worried about worming your puppy, speak with your veterinarian for further advice and information.