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Worms and Your Dog

A worm infestation can be a real danger to your dog

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Worms are a very common parasite in the UK, and many of our dogs are affected. This can affect the health of our dogs, but also carries a human health risk. Keeping our dogs worm-free is a critical part of having a happy, healthy household.

There are several different types of worm that can affect your dog.

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Roundworms are the most common type of worm seen in dogs in the UK – the name for the most common of these is Toxocara canis. This worm spends most of its lifecycle in the gut, but can also burrow into other body tissues and organs. These worms can also affect humans, and can cause blindness in children, so regular worm treatments are a must. 


Tapeworms live in the intestines, and attach to the wall of the intestine with sharp teeth. Tapeworms typically feed on the nutrients within the gut, and can grow to incredible lengths! These long worms reproduce by breaking into small segments and these segments, which look like grains of rice, may be seen in your dog’s faeces. 


Hookworm infection of dogs is not common in the UK but, as bloodsuckers, an infestation can be deadly – especially in puppies or older dogs. Hookworms can be picked up from fox poo; studies show that up to 68% of our UK foxes may be carrying fox hookworms, which can also affect dogs. 


Whipworms live in the large intestine of dogs, and actually rarely cause damage, even though they do feed on blood and tissue fluid. A large infestation can cause diarrhoea and anaemia however, so a whipworm infestation should always be treated. 


Sadly, lungworm is one of the most serious parasites our dogs in the UK can pick up – it can even be fatal. Dogs get lungworm from infected slugs and snails, and the disease causes a range of signs, including coughing, tiredness and excessive bleeding. A separate species, called the ‘fox lungworm’, also exists, although this is not as severe. 


Heartworms are not found naturally in the UK, but are a risk for dogs who travel abroad. Heartworms are transmitted by infected mosquitos and live in the heart of affected dogs, leading to heart failure and even death without treatment.

Take a look here for more information on our Complete Care Plan, which provides all your pet’s parasite protection needs for a simple monthly payment.

If you suspect that your dog might have worms then you should make an appointment with your local Vets4Pets as soon as possible.