The common internal dog parasites and the signs to look out for.

 Parasites in dogs may go unnoticed for a little while, but they always end up causing some trouble. There are internal and external parasites. In this post we'll talk about internal parasites, the signs and how to minimize the risks for your dog.

3 of the most common internal dog parasites

Heartworms

Heartworms find their way into your dog's bloodstream via an infected mosquito bite. They develop in your dog's heart, lungs and blood vessels, slowing the blood flow down.

It can be hard to tell whether your dog is infected, but mild symptoms such as a persistent cough, fatigue after exercise and reduced appetite should raise the alarm. A blood test will then confirm the diagnosis.

If not picked up on time, this parasite can unfortunately cause damage to the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys or even be fatal. 

Hookworms

Hookworms make home inside the digestive system. Puppies get them from their mother's placenta of when nursing, whilst adult dogs either swallow a parasite's egg or the hookworm gets into their skin.

Although tiny, this parasite feeds on blood and attaches to the lining of the intestine, which can cause some damage, from anaemia to inflammation of the intestine.

Diarrhoea, weight loss and pale gums are symptoms that this parasite lives in your dog's tummy. This can be confirmed by analyzing a stool sample.

Ringworm

Ringworm is actually not a worm, but a fungus which infects the skin, hair or claws. It mainly affects puppies who don't have a fully developed immune system, or adult dog with a fragile immune system.

The spread takes place via contact with infected animals or objects such as furniture.

If your dog has lesions looking like circular bald spot and/or redness on the ears, head and limbs, they might be infected. They will then need a special shampoo to kill the fungus and sometimes medication.

How to prevent parasites in dogs?

If your dog is at risk, your vet might recommend preventative treatments. 

It is also recommend to get your pooch regularly tested for the most common parasites and of course as soon as they exhibit any symptoms.

Try to keep your dog away from dead animals, feces and garbage in general.