Are dogs born with worms? Not always, but most puppies are born with worms. Puppies can become infected with intestinal parasites before they are born or later through their mother’s milk.
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Why do puppies have worms when they are born?
When the mother is pregnant her rising progesterone levels cause immature worm larvae in her muscles to awaken and swim right through the uterine wall. Then on into the puppy, before it is even born. By two or three weeks of age, puppies are shedding worm eggs and infecting each other.
Even if the puppies are born worm-free, the larvae of intestinal worms like hookworms and roundworms can again be passed on from the mother to her pups. This is through milk while nursing. Even after the puppies are weaned, just one puppy or the mother alone can soon spread worms across the whole litter.
When should puppies be dewormed?
This is why puppies should be wormed at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age, and then every three months for life with a broad spectrum all-wormer. A broad spectrum wormer will treat all the varieties of worms. Heavy worm infestations in puppies should be repeated 10 days after the initial dose is administered.
Wormers only eradicate the worms that are present at the time, which means that a dog might pick up worms again within just a few days of treatment. Also, in the case of severe infestations, one dose or treatment of wormer might not be enough to eradicate it, and so multiple treatments may be required to achieve success. There are no side effects of dewormers.
If the mother or just one puppy has visible signs of worms, you should assume that the rest of the puppies and even the parents do too. Always treat all the puppies and the mother together.
You may not always be able to spot worms so it is important to be on the lookout for the symptoms of intestinal parasites.
Signs of worms in a puppy include;
• Weakness and listlessness
• Diarrhea or vomiting
• Weight loss or failure to gain weight despite a good appetite
• Bloated, rounded or pot-bellied appearance to the stomach
Types of worms in dogs.
Roundworm is contracted through infected facies or dirt. This thin, spaghetti-like parasite is around 12cm long and can cause a potbellied appearance. Symptoms may include weight loss, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea or mucus in the stool, and stunted growth.
Nearly all puppies are born with roundworm as most mothers have dormant larvae in their tissue. These larvae come to life at the end of the pregnancy and migrate into the lungs of the new pups.
Roundworms can cause liver damage or intestinal blockage, and even a light infection can result in a dull coat, dry skin, and a potbelly. Humans can get roundworm too, so ensure you always wash your hands after handling dog poo.
Hookworm is one of the most dangerous of all intestinal parasites. It can be transmitted from mothers to puppies before birth or through suckling. You may be able to spot it by observing the level of your puppy’s lethargy, and looking out for symptoms that include anemia, poor appetite and black tar-like stools that contain blood.
It is named for the hooklike teeth they use to attach themselves to the dog’s intestinal lining It can also be transmitted from infected feces or even directly through the skin when the dog walks through areas where the larvae are active.
Tapeworm are long, segmented worms that live in the small intestine. They come in several varieties and are transmitted through infected soil, from ingesting fleas or even from eating rodents. Tapeworms usually cause very little harm except in severe cases, when the dog might suffer from abdominal pain, nervousness, weight loss, vomiting, or severe itching around the anus
Sometimes small, rice-like segments can be found around the dog’s anus or in their stool. Mature tapeworms will cause your puppy to eat more than normal, but with no weight gain.
Whipworm will find its way to your puppy’s digestive tract from eating dirt, causing chronic bowel inflammation. You may notice mucus in the stools and weight loss or diarrhea. The most common problem is recurring diarrhea caused by the inflammation of the intestine. Serious cases can also cause anemia, dehydration, lethargy, and weight loss. This worm doesn’t affect humans.
Coccidia is an organism that can live in your puppy’s intestines. It is sometimes ingested through raw or undercooked meat, including rats and mice. Symptoms can include diarrhea, fever, weight loss and loss of appetite.
Heartworm can enter a puppy through the bite of a mosquito. They are among the most dangerous worms. They can seriously damage a dog’s heart and lungs and can be fatal if left untreated.
Symptoms include coughing, lethargy, and fatigue. Consult your vet if you suspect Heartworm as it can be fatal Heartworms can be detected through a blood test, and while they are difficult to cure, they are simple to prevent with regular deworming.
Ringworm is not an internal parasite. It is a fungus that lives on the skin and is extremely contagious. Ringworm can even be transmitted to humans and other pets in the home. Ringworm appears as oval bare patches on your puppy’s skin. It quite often starts on the ears or on the belly. If a dog has Ringworm it is important to avoid unnecessary contact with other animals. Ringworm may not always be visible and can only be detected under an ultraviolet light. Once detected, your vet will be able to administer the correct treatment.
It is important to treat your puppy at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age, and then every three months for life with a broad spectrum all-wormer. If you have any concerns consult your vet.