Signs of worms in a dog and symptoms of infection

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Almost all pets are exposed to worms. Especially dogs suffer from parasites, to which worms bring discomfort and unpleasant symptoms. Helminthiasis can be caused by various parasites that are deployed in the liver, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, heart, under the skin. Learn how to identify signs of illness..

The first signs of worms in a dog

All helminthiases are divided according to the type of worms by which they are caused. The main parasites are flat tapeworms (cestodes), roundworms (nematodes) or flukes (trematodes). Each species causes certain diseases that can end in a chronic course with complete exhaustion of the body. Worm infection is dangerous because nematodes and whipworms are easily transmitted to humans.

The first symptoms in dogs with worms in which you can suspect an animal’s disease:

  • in the feces, on the hair, near the anus, you can find individual segments, fragments or whole worms;
  • the dog seeks to scratch the anus on the ground or surrounding objects;
  • the pet’s general condition worsens, appetite increases or decreases, his hair falls out, lethargy appears, the mucous membranes become pale (it is important to separate the infection from hypovitaminosis);
  • unstable stool (alternating constipation and diarrhea).

Helminthiasis, depending on the intensity of invasion and the reactivity of the body, may be asymptomatic or with pronounced symptoms of mild or severe form. Because of this, in case of any deterioration in the well-being of the dog, you should contact your veterinarian. Analyzes of organs, tissues, blood and feces will help to timely identify the disease and prescribe treatment.

Symptoms of worms in a dog

An adult dog or puppy can become infected with worms. If for the first worms it is unlikely to be able to cause significant damage, then for a young animal, everything can end tragically. Doctors advise owners to pay attention to signs of deterioration and to conduct deworming. All rehabilitation and preventive measures (advised to be carried out twice a year) will not be able to completely destroy the worms in the dog’s body, but only reduce them to a minimum.

There are several ways to infect a pet’s helminths. The main ones are:

  1. Through external sources containing worm eggs: feces, contaminated food, water from puddles and ponds, raw fish.
  2. Contact with an infected animal, or infection through intermediate hosts – fleas and ticks.

To detect helminthiasis, you need to monitor the well-being of the dog. Typical symptoms of infection:

  • change in appearance and habitual behavior: lethargy, inactivity, anemia, whiteness of the mucous membranes;
  • dullness, ruffled hair, a tendency to dermatoses, dandruff, eczema;
  • deviations in the digestive tract: lack or increase in appetite, weight loss, a change in taste preferences, the use of inedible objects;
  • digestive disorders, impaired intestinal motility – frequent cramping, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea;
  • the presence in the stool of blood, eggs, mucus, larvae, the worms themselves;
  • severe itching of the anus;
  • swollen hard stomach with bulging ribs;
  • hiccups after eating, difficulty swallowing;
  • rickets, lag in development and growth.

Dog Worms

Intestinal helminths

The most common are intestinal worms, which are represented by round, ribbon, whip-shaped helminths, hookworms. They cause toxocariasis, echinococcosis, ascariasis, hookworm, uncinariosis, toxascaridosis, hookworm. Characteristic signs of infection with them:

  • bloating;
  • blanching of the mucous membranes;
  • upset stool;
  • colic
  • discharge from the eyes;
  • lethargy;
  • digestive upset;
  • the danger is the formation of a dense lump in the small intestine, which leads to blockage and obstruction, threatens the death of the dog.


Parasites localized in the bile ducts of the liver, the dog becomes infected through raw fish. The most common helminth is a fluke that causes opisthorchiasis. Signs of infection with him:

  • general exhaustion;
  • tousled dull hair;
  • fluid accumulation in the abdomen – ascites;
  • enlargement of the liver, its pain, palpation felt tuberosity.


Helminthic invasion in dogs caused by cardionematodes, or cardiac helminths, is called dirofilariasis. Parasites settle in the atria, arteries, ventricles and blood vessels of the heart. The carriers of infection are fleas, mosquitoes and blood-sucking insects, six months after the bite of which the disease can develop. Its signs:

  • cough;
  • dyspnea;
  • labored breathing;
  • swelling;
  • drowsiness, fatigue;
  • disruption of the nervous system;
  • pulmonary wheezing, noise;
  • convulsive syndromes;
  • apathy, general exhaustion;
  • heart rhythm failures;
  • the danger is tearing of the heart muscle and death.

Dog Fatigue

Pulmonary helminthiasis

Roundworms and esophageal worms often settle in the lungs of dogs. This is the most dangerous infection, it can hardly be detected by yourself. Signs of the presence of parasites are:

  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • cough;
  • anemia;
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia;
  • internal bleeding.

Subcutaneous worms in dogs

The skin variety of helminthiasis (dirofilariasis) is often asymptomatic, but in some cases specific symptoms occur. These include:

  • multifocal nodular nodular dermatitis – nodular formations on the connective tissue, edema in the muzzle;
  • focal alopecia (alopecia) – the animal combs the papules, damaging the hair and skin integument, scratches, scratches are formed;
  • itchy papules – form under the skin, resemble the pathological symptoms of sarcoptosis;
  • generalized dermatitis – inflammation of the skin against the background of the toxic effects of worm products;
  • lethargy, lethargy, refusal of food, games, thirst;
  • pungent dark concentrated urine.

Signs of a puppy

To make sure that the puppy has worms, look at its behavior and appearance. Signs of infection are:

  • low mobility;
  • poor growth;
  • dull wool;
  • bluish rim of eye proteins;
  • increased appetite, but lack of weight gain, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • constipation, blood, mucus, and worms are visible in feces;
  • bloated stomach, frequent rumbling, enlarged liver.

Worms in a puppy

What do worms look like in dogs in the feces

If the owner finds in the feces of the dog whole worms, their segments or fragments, one can judge about helminthic invasion. Depending on how the helminths look, they are divided into groups:

  1. Cestodes – flat tapeworms. They have a flattened body of many segments from 1 cm to 10 m long. Adult individuals have hooks on their heads with which they attach to organs. Representatives – wide ribbon, bull, pork tapeworm, echinococcus.
  2. Nematodes – roundworms, more common than others in dogs. They have a round body up to 8 m in length, without segments. The body is covered with a ringed or smooth cuticle (shell). The group includes trichinella, roundworm.
  3. Trematodes – flukes. They have two suction cups – at the front end of the body and in the middle. The body looks like a flat leaf, it can reach 1.5 m, but tiny worms several mm in size live in the dog’s body.
  4. Eggs – tiny, they can only be viewed under a microscope. Ascaris eggs are oval, dark yellow, tuberous. In tapeworms, eggs are large, oval-round, visible in feces.
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