What intestinal worms could my dog have?

Common intestinal worms in dogs include roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. 

 

Roundworms


Roundworms are often visible as small noodle-like bits in your dog’s stools and their belly may appear swollen or bloated. Puppies may be born with roundworms, having acquired them from their mother. 


Hookworms


Hookworms are thin, small worms that attach through a hook in their mouth to the intestinal wall. They are not always visible to the naked eye, and eggs in the faeces can only be detected by examination through a microscope. Hookworms can cause bleeding in the dog’s bowel and result in anaemia. 

 

Whipworms


Whipworms are thin, thread like worms living in the large intestine. Adults may be visible to the naked eye, but as the faeces do not contain many worms, they may be difficult to detect. A microscope examination of several faecal samples may be necessary to detect them. 

 

Tapeworms


There are different types of tapeworms but the most common is the ‘flea tapeworm’. Fleas can carry the tapeworm larvae, so if your dog has fleas that are infected with tapeworm and these are ingested by your dog, adult flea tapeworm can then grow inside their intestines. Tapeworm segments that appear as white grains of rice in the faeces are signs of tapeworm infestation. Preventing fleas generally means your dog is unlikely to get flea tapeworm. 

 

A tapeworm that is more dangerous to health is the hydatid tapeworm. Although quite rare, it causes cysts to form in vital organs such as the liver and lungs and results in serious illness. Rural dogs in particular are at risk and it’s important to take preventative measures with these dogs.