Harmful parasites can cause infections and other health issues including anemia in your dog. It is wise to know about these parasites and who should you reach out to if your pet ever faces an internal parasite issue. This page is designed to give you an overview of some of the internal parasites that can infect your dog.
There are several types of internal parasites that cause problems in dogs. These include nematodes or roundworms, of which Toxocara canis (intestinal roundworm) and Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) are the main examples, and cestodes or tapeworms of which Dipylidium caninum, Taenia species and Echinococcus species are important examples. Ancylostoma species (hookworms) are also common internal parasites in many parts of the United States.
Intestinal worms can be a serious problem in young puppies. Hookworms can cause anemia and roundworms can lead to poor growth and development.
Intestinal parasites are only occasionally life-threatening in adult dogs and are usually seen in debilitated animals or those that are immunosuppressed.
Heartworm disease is a major life-threatening problem. Heartworm disease is considered to be one of the most serious conditions seen in small animal practice. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. Fortunately, Heartworm is not currently endemic in Alberta. This means only dogs that travel are at risk.
Dipylidium caninum, the most common tapeworm of the dog, causes few problems in the adult host but can result in digestive upsets and stunting of growth in puppies. The intermediate host of Dipylidium is the flea.
This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM
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