Identifying worms in dogs and cats
One of the most common problems with dogs and cats is worms. Worms are usually not a life threatening condition, but they aren’t pleasant to deal with either. There are many ways for your pets to get worms. Some dogs and cats may even be born with them. Before you can get rid of these pests you need to identify which type of worm they have. Below is an explanation of the four most common types, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Most of these worms have the same type of symptoms that may include diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting.
Roundworms are very common among dogs and cats. They can be picked up by ingesting the eggs which are usually contained in the animal’s stools. Keeping your pet’s environment clear of feces can help prevent roundworms and other types of worms as well.
However, preventing roundworms isn’t always easy since mothers can actually pass these parasites to unborn animals. It is also possible to have roundworms without any having any symptoms. However, when they are passed or vomited they are very noticeable and resemble spaghetti. Roundworms are difficult to pass to humans because you would have to ingest the fecal matter that contains the eggs.
Tapeworms are harder to get rid of than roundworms. While there are usually over the counter medications that can be purchased for roundworms, a prescription may be needed for tapeworms. It is also easier to catch tapeworms. If your dogs or cats like to eat dead animals, they can easily catch tapeworms. They can also catch tapeworms by ingesting fleas that contain tapeworm eggs.
Tapeworms can be distinguished from roundworms by the way they look. What you may see on your dogs and cats are little segments of the worm. The worm is made up of these segments and you will usually never see a whole tapeworm. The segments may resemble tiny worms because they will still move around. This is because the segment contains the eggs. After the segment has been passed it will dry up and no longer move. You may mistake these segments for grains of rice stuck to your dogs and cats fur or in their stools.
Hookworms are not going to be seen in the stools or on the fur. They are microscopic and they will only be identified through a stool sample or due to symptoms. These worms attach themselves to the inside of your dogs, and less often, your cats. While attached they will feed off of the blood from your pet. This may make your dogs or cats anemic and could become a big problem.
Whipworms are also going to be largely undetected unless your pet is suffering from symptoms. A stool sample can usually show whether your dogs and cats have contracted whipworms. However, there are times when a stool sample will not work. This is because whipworms leave very few eggs. If your dogs or cats have a mucous covering on their stools, they may have whipworms.
Dealing with worms is never pleasant for a pet owner. You just have to remember that it is even more unpleasant for the pet. Identifying your culprit is the first step in treating the worm infestation. If you any trouble you should see your veterinarian for help in dealing with this problem.