Worm infestation in dogs: the parasites run with

Bonn. Dogs are often infected with worms. The symptoms in affected animals vary greatly. Parasites that can also be transmitted to humans are particularly insidious. These are then referred to as zoonoses. Regular worming treatments for four-legged companions are therefore a must.

A walk together is a highlight of the day for both dog and owner. So let's get going. Put on the collar, strap on the snack bag, pack a throwing toy and start walking. But wait! Isn't something missing? Right. Dog poop bags should definitely be in your luggage. Dog droppings are not only unsightly. Dog poop often harbors unpleasant tenants that can be dangerous for other dogs and people. We're talking about worms and their eggs and larvae. Dog poop should therefore not be left lying around, but should always be disposed of in a hygienically packed poop bag with the general waste.

Studies show infection risks
Recent studies have shown that intestinal parasites can be detected in almost all urban parks in Western Europe. Nematodes were found in 57 percent of the parks (Nematodes) found. In Germany, roundworms were discovered in almost three quarters of all parks, including roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. Roundworms are just one of many different types of worm, but in our latitudes they are by far the most common. Over six percent of all dogs carry them and, more precisely, they leave their eggs in their droppings in the environment, which represents a potential risk of infection for dogs and humans. Children are particularly at risk. Roundworm eggs remain infectious in the environment for a long time. They also stick to fur, dog paws or shoe soles and are therefore quickly carried into the house. It is assumed that there are several hundred cases of toxocariasis in Germany every year with a wide variety of symptoms.

Danger from fox tapeworm
Dogs can also become infected with the fox tapeworm if they eat infected rodents or other prey. The fox tapeworm can be very dangerous, especially for humans, as it causes echinococcosis. Dogs can also become infected with the cucumber seed tapeworm. This is transmitted by swallowing infected fleas, which is why deworming should always be considered in the case of a flea infestation.

Symptoms and prevention of worm infestation
Often, adult animals are not externally visible to the naked eye. However, the consequences of a worm infestation can be serious, depending on the age, health and other factors of the affected animal. Puppies and immunocompromised dogs in particular can become much more seriously ill. The symptoms range from diarrhea and vomiting to loss of appetite and weight and a bloated “worm belly”. Despite these dire consequences, studies indicate that deworming is done far too rarely. The fight against worm parasites is easy to win with regular worming treatments, at least every three months. And don't forget: the risk of infection decreases with every little poop that ends up in the garbage bin, well packed in a dog poop bag.

For further information, see the article “Worm infections in dogs: What dog owners should look out for”.

Photo: BfT/Klostermann

Federal Association for Animal Health (BfT)