Signs a Dog Has Worms

Here at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, we often get calls from concerned owners about worms. Let’s face it, worms are not a nice thought and nobody enjoys the clean up that can occur in the yard or the house, from a pet with a belly full of these wiggly parasites. Yikes!!

What are the signs?

Scooting has often been thought of as a telltale sign your pet has worms. However, this is not always the case. More likely, pets scoot due to full or impacted anal glands, skin allergies or flea bites.

Other signs to watch for include:

  • Bloated, round bellies
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Poor coat
  • Lethargy – signs of weakness
  • Constant hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Visible worms or eggs in feces
  • Visible larva found in the fur around the base of the tail

What do worms look like?

When worms are shed, passed through the feces or vomited up, you will typically see one of two things: long, thin, white spaghetti-like strands or small rice-like segments either in the feces or on the coat of your pet. These segments can often be found lying around the house on furniture, or bedding. Tapeworms break off in segments and are often referred to as rice-like. Roundworms (which are the most common in our puppies and kittens) are often described as spaghetti-like.

How do I get rid of them?

Worms can easily be treated with an oral medication from your veterinarian. There are also topical medications which help control internal parasite infestations, not all worm treatments are over the counter products. If your pet is past due for an annual health exam or if your pet has never been seen by that veterinarian, you will be required to book an exam prior to medication being prescribed.

Depending on the type of worms being treated, your pet may require a single dose or multiple doses to ensure the entire life-cycle of that particular parasite has been eradicated. The best medicine is prevention. Internal parasite medications do not prevent your pet from picking up parasites but help to control them and keep on top of potential infestations. Every pet is an individual and will require their own parasite control program Some pets require treatment once or twice a year, while others every three months. Your veterinarian will be able to assist you in finding the best parasite program for your pets needs.

Written by Van Isle Veterinary Hospital