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Guarding Your Dog Against Worms: A Guide to Internal Parasites

Lonsdale Place Veterinary Clinic North Vancouver Vet

At Lonsdale Place Veterinary Clinic, ensuring the health and well-being of your furry companions is our top priority. One of the key aspects of maintaining your dog's health is protecting them from internal parasites, commonly known as worms. These parasites can cause a range of health issues, from mild discomfort to severe, life-threatening conditions. In this blog, we will explore the different types of internal parasites that can affect dogs, with a special focus on those common in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the seriousness of these infections, how to recognize them, and the best ways to prevent and treat these unwelcome invaders. North Vancouver Vet

What Types of Internal Parasites Affect Dogs?

Dogs can suffer from a variety of internal parasites, commonly referred to as worms. These include: North Vancouver Vet

  • Roundworms (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina)

  • Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis)

  • Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum, Taenia species, Echinococcus species)

  • Hookworms (Ancylostoma)

  • Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis)

How Serious Are These Infections? North Vancouver Vet

Intestinal worms pose significant risks, especially to puppies. Hookworms can lead to severe anemia, while roundworms can cause stunted growth and developmental issues. In adult dogs, these parasites are generally less life-threatening but can still cause severe issues in weakened or immunocompromised animals. Heartworm is particularly dangerous, transmitted by mosquitoes, and can cause significant damage to the heart and lungs, often leading to serious health complications.

What Happens if My Dog is Infected? North Vancouver Vet

Lonsdale Place Veterinary Clinic North Vancouver Vet

  • Roundworms: Infected puppies may exhibit stunted growth, digestive issues, and a bloated appearance due to the worms living freely in their intestines. These parasites can be transmitted via ingestion of eggs from infected feces.

  • Hookworms: These parasites are small but dangerous, attaching to the small intestine and feeding on blood, leading to anemia. They can infect dogs through ingestion or skin penetration, often causing skin irritation and secondary infections.

  • Whipworms: Living in the large intestine, whipworms cause chronic diarrhea and weight loss. These small parasites can lead to severe irritation and inflammation of the intestinal lining. North Vancouver Vet

  • Tapeworms: Requiring an intermediate host like a flea or rodent, tapeworms such as Dipylidium caninum and Taenia species can cause digestive issues and, in severe cases, intestinal blockages. Echinococcus species are notable for their zoonotic potential, posing a risk to human health. North Vancouver Vet

  • Heartworms: Spread by mosquitoes, heartworms grow in the major vessels of the heart and lungs. Symptoms include fatigue, coughing, and poor physical condition, with adult heartworms growing up to 14 inches long.

Diagnosing Internal Parasite Infections

Parasite infections are typically diagnosed through fecal flotation, where a stool sample is examined for eggs. Tapeworms may be identified by observing segments in feces or around the dog's anus. Heartworms are diagnosed via specific blood tests. North Vancouver Vet

Prevention and Treatment

Early treatment of intestinal parasites is crucial. Regular deworming and flea control can prevent tapeworm infections. Heartworm prevention includes using FDA- or EPA-approved insecticides and preventives, which often also protect against other worms. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best parasite control program for your dog. North Vancouver Vet

At Lonsdale Place Veterinary Clinic, we prioritize your pet's health and are here to help you with all your veterinary needs. Contact us for advice on the best parasite prevention and treatment options for your furry friend. North Vancouver Vet



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