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Of all the parasites a dog can catch, worms take home first prize for Most Disgusting. Nobody wants to imagine little worms crawling around in their dog's digestive system, but it's a fairly common ailment that's easily passed from dog to dog. So if he does happen to contract them, tell your furry fella not to feel ashamed of his worms! They're easily prevented and controlled with medication that your vet routinely prescribes to hundreds of pooches just like him.
Roundworms are the most common type of worm, especially in unvaccinated puppies who may just be getting into that exploratory stage, which of course involves exploring other dogs' feces. Regardless of your dog's age, you'll know he's contracted roundworms if his stools look like spaghetti. Other signs include vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, bring him in to the vet's office for a worm diagnosis and treatment. In the future, roundworms can be avoided with a worm preventative that your vet will recommend.
Hookworms find their way to your dog's digestive tract through the pads of his feet and the skin of his belly. He can easily pick them up by way of infected soil. Once infected with hookworms, your dog will pass dark or bloody stools, an indication that the hookworms are sucking blood from his intestinal tract. If left untreated, hookworms cause anemia in your poor pooch, so bring him into the vet ASAP for a deworming and preventative against future hookworm episodes.
Tapeworms are passed through fecalmatter and flea larvae, and easily spread from dogs to humans through direct contact. They're easily visible in your dog's waste, so while it may seem a vile practice, take an extra long look at your dog's poop every now and then to check for tapeworms. While they are harmless to your dog, tapeworms are hazardous to humans. If your dog has them, they should be treated promptly.
Heartworms can KILL your dog! They're transmitted through mosquitoes and are lethal if left untreated. These parasites make their way to your dog's heart, where the live and grow until heart functions are totally blocked, leading to heart failure and death. Symptoms of heartworms in your dog are coughing, labored breathing, weight loss and fainting. If you suspect heartworm, prevent your dog from exercising and get him to a vet immediately. Your dog's doctor will determine what stage the disease has progressed to, and recommend treatment accordingly. If caught early, your dog may only require medicine injections and aspirin. If the disease is in advanced stages, he may require treatment for heart failure. It's wise to protect your dog against heartworm with a routine vaccination, and as an added precaution, guard him against mosquitoes with an insect repellent recommended by your vet.
Check your dog regularly for any weird symptoms that could indicate a case of worms. Be sure to bring him in for vet checkups on a regular basis. Find out what precautionary steps you can take to prevent worms and other parasites. In this way, you'll ensure him a happy and worm-free existence!
Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.
Dina Giolitto is a copywriting consultant and ghostwriter with 10 years of experience writing corporate print materials and web content. Trust her with your next e-book, article series or web project, and make a lasting impression on your audience of information-hungry prospects. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for more information.
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