I Think I Saw Heartworms in My Dog’s Poop. What Now?

Is it possible to find heartworms in dog poop? Learn more about heartworm disease and the various types of worms that infect dogs. This information can help you recognize what to look for in your dog's poop and when it is time to take him to the veterinarian.

I Think I Saw Heartworms in My Dog’s Poop. What Now?

Is it possible to find heartworms in dog poop? Learn more about heartworm disease and the various types of worms that infect dogs. This information can help you recognize what to look for in your dog's poop and when it is time to take him to the veterinarian.

Is it possible to find heartworms in dog poop?

Photo by Johann

Finding worms in your dog's poop is an unsettling experience. While you may suspect heartworms, you might be surprised to learn that heartworms do not live in the gastrointestinal tract and are therefore not visible in dog feces. Other worms such as hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and tapeworms may be present in dog poop. This article provides an overview of heartworm disease as well as ways to identify the different types of worms found in our pets' waste.

When identified quickly, dog worms are usually treatable with appropriate medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

Overview of Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious condition that can cause death in animals as well as severe lung disease, heart failure, damage to other organs, and other symptoms.

"Heartworms" are so named because the adult worms live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal.

Dirofilaria immitis, a parasitic worm, is the culprit. The worms are transmitted by a mosquito bite. The dog serves as the sole host, allowing the worms to develop into adults, reproduce, and have offspring while inside the dog.

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease symptoms in dogs include a mild persistent cough, resistance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Due to an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, pets with heartworm disease may eventually experience heart failure and a swollen stomach.

Heartworms in Dog Poop

Since heartworms cannot leave a dog's body through its feces, you will not find any signs of heartworms in dog poop. If they are swallowed after being coughed up from the lungs, they will have already been digested by the time they reach the stomach and small and large intestines.

Treatment for Heartworms

If you suspect heartworm disease in your dog, you must take it to a veterinarian for blood tests. This will verify whether or not your dog has heartworms, and your vet will be able to treat them. An injectable drug called melarsomine is given to kill adult heartworms in the heart and adjacent vessels. This drug is administered through a series of injections, which your veterinarian will determine depending on your dog's health.

Canine Heartworm Disease

So What Types of Worms Are in Dogs Poop?

Roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and tapeworms are the four types of worms most frequently found in dog feces. Continue reading to learn how to spot worms in your dog's poop and what you can do to take care of the problem.

Overview of Roundworms

Roundworms are worms that live inside your dog's intestines and feed on partially digested food. There are two main types of roundworm: Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina.

Roundworms can contaminate dog poop, which can cause serious contagion issues in humans. These eggs can develop into larvae that engorge different organs and cause serious illness. As a result, you should always clean up after your dogs when they are outside, and you should keep children away from dog waste areas. Keep everyone's hands clean at all times.

What Does Dog Poop Look Like With Roundworms?

Roundworms can be found in dog poop or vomit if your dog has them. They resemble long threads and are usually white or light brown. They can grow to a length of a few inches. Consult a veterinarian with your dog if you notice any signs of roundworm. To determine whether there are any roundworm eggs present, they will examine a sample of your dog's feces under a microscope.

Roundworm Treatment

There are many safe and efficient deworming medications. To kill the adult worms, your veterinarian will first administer one to three doses to your dog. To eliminate any new worms that weren't fully developed when the initial doses were administered, your dog will receive follow-up doses. That occurs two to four times per year for puppies. It happens once or twice a year for dogs older than a year.

A vet will need to examine the stool sample under a microscope

Photo by Chokniti Khongchum

Overview of Whipworms

Whipworms are intestinal parasites that measure 6 mm, or about 1/4 inch. They live in the cecum (a pouch that makes up the first part of the large intestine in dogs) and large intestine, where they can cause severe irritation to the lining of those organs.

Whipworm infection symptoms include general weakness, weight loss, and bloody, watery diarrhea. Of all the intestinal parasites that can be found in dogs, whipworms are the most dangerous.

What Does Dog Poop Look Like With Whipworm?

Most likely, your dog will have loose stools that are either watery or bloody. A stool sample is required from a veterinarian because whipworms themselves are rarely visible in a dog's feces.

Treatment for Whipworm

A veterinarian must examine a prepared sample of feces under a microscope to find tiny eggs. However, because a female adult does not begin laying eggs until roughly 11 to 12 weeks have passed since she hatched, tests are frequently misinterpreted as negative.

Therefore, any dog with persistent large bowel diarrhea should be suspected of having whipworms and treated accordingly, even if the stool sample is negative. It is customary to treat chronic diarrhea with a whipworm dewormer.

Overview of Hookworms

Hookworms are a common type of parasite with a hook-like mouth that attaches to your dog’s intestines. They can cause symptoms like weakness, digestive trouble, dehydration, and a lack of energy.

Because they are hooked inside your dog's intestines, hookworms are not often found in the waste of your pet. They are also quite tiny. Without a microscope, the adult hookworm, which can grow up to 3 mm long, is challenging to see. However, you might notice some variations in the color and texture of your dog's feces as a result.

What Does Dog Poop Look Like With Hookworm?

First, it takes 2 to 3 weeks for hookworms to begin laying eggs that can be seen; during this time, it's likely that neither behavior nor feces will change. Following this, your dog may begin to exhibit symptoms like vomiting, decreased appetite, and weight loss, as well as black, tarry stools. Your dog might also develop anemia, which manifests itself as lethargy, weakness, and pale gums as the worms feed on blood.

Treatment for Hookworm

Your veterinarian will recommend an anti-parasite drug to treat the infection if your dog contracts hookworm. Usually, fenbendazole, moxidectin, or pyrantel are used for this. This medication is taken by mouth for about two to three weeks. If the dog is weak, additional treatment options include IV fluids and electrolytes, as well as iron supplements for anemia.

Worms in your dog could result in general weakness.

Photo by João Victor Xavier on Unsplash

Overview of Tapeworm

Dogs can contract tapeworms, a common intestinal parasite. They are segmented, flat, and long parasites. The segments, which can resemble rice grains, are excreted by infected dogs and can be found in their poop, their bedding, or in the fur surrounding their anus.

Infections with tapeworms are typically easy to treat and eliminate. Reinfection may occur if the infection source, such as fleas or rodents, is not controlled. Although tapeworms are not directly passed from dogs to people, they can still infect people who ingest dog fleas (this is more something that might happen with infants or toddlers).

What Does Dog Poop Look Like With Tapeworms?

The tiny segments are visible in dog poop, resembling white and moving pieces of rice, or they may appear dried out and yellow.

Treatment for Tapeworm

You will need to consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. A deworming drug called praziquantel is usually prescribed to treat tapeworm infections. Although it is frequently administered as a single tablet, it is also offered as an injection and a topical formulation. Drontal, Drontal Plus, Droncit, and other well-known brand names are examples. A monthly dewormer could prevent reinfection.

What to Do if You Think Your Dog Has Worms

If you suspect that your dog has heartworms, you should know that this type of worm does not present itself in dog poop. If you still suspect heartworm disease in your dog, you must take it to a veterinarian for blood tests. This will verify whether or not your dog has heartworms, and your vet will be able to treat them.

What you are most likely seeing is a different type of worm in your dog's waste. Dog poop typically contains four types of worms: hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. You should bring a stool sample to your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and treatment if you notice worms in your dog's feces. Worms can harm your dog's internal organs, cause unconsciousness, and even cause death if left untreated.

Sources and Further Reading

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2023 Louise Fiolek


(Excluding for the Headline, this article ("story") has not been edited by MiBiz News and is published from a web feed or sourced from the Internet.)