German Shepard

Gastro-intestinal worms

Roughly 80% of Australian dogs carry one type of gastro-intestinal worm or another. Not only can they be dangerous and even fatal to puppies and adult dogs, some can also be transferred to humans, especially children.

What are the different types of gastro-intestinal worms?

Hookworms

  • are eaten or penetrate the skin of paws and legs
  • can also be transferred to pups through mother's milk
  • can be fatal if the infection is severe
  • can infect humans

Common signs of hookworms:

  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • bloated stomach
  • black diarrhoea
  • increased thirst
  • lethargy
  • dermatitis

Roundworms:

  • become infested by ingesting, through the placenta, from mother's milk
  • grow between 9 – 20cm long
  • can be fatal if the infection is severe
  • can infect humans

Common signs of roundworms:

  • coughing
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • pneumonia
  • bowel obstruction
  • a dull coat
  • swollen stomach

Whipworms:

  • dogs become infested by ingesting whipworm eggs
  • grow between 4 – 7cm long
  • infections in puppies can be fatal.

Common signs of whipworm:

  • weight loss
  • stomach pains
  • diarrhoea, occasionally with fresh blood
  • pale eyelids and gums
  • dehydration
  • a dull coat

Flea Tapeworms:

  • dogs catch from swallowing infected fleas
  • may be more than 1 metre long
  • not a major health risk
  • can infect humans

Common signs of flea tapeworm:

  • irritation
  • itching around the anus
  • tapeworm segments in the faeces – look like grains of rice

Hydatid Tapeworms:

  • dogs catch from swallowing infected fleas
  • may be more than 1 metre long
  • not a major health risk
  • can infect humans

Common signs of flea tapeworm:

  • dogs catch from eating infected internal organs of sheep, cattle, kangaroos and pigs in the country
  • grows to only 7mm long
  • not a threat to dogs but can be life threatening to humans due to the formation of large, fluid-filled cysts in the human’s body

How do I control gastro-intestinal worms in my dog?

  • minimise exposure to areas heavily contaminated with other dogs’ faeces
  • remove faeces from litter trays and children's sand pits
  • clean your dog’s sleeping area regularly
  • feed your quality dog food (not intestines)
  • wash your hands after handling your pet and before eating
  • don’t let your dog lick your face
  • use a regular de-worming treatment

How do I de-worm my dog?

By using a de-worming product such as Canex® at two, four, six and 12 weeks of age, and then every 3 months for the rest of their life.