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When bringing home a new dog from a shelter, rescue organization or breeder, don't assume your dog has been thoroughly and properly dewormed for all types of parasites. While many organizations and breeders routinely treat their dogs and puppies for parasites, you should not assume your dog has been properly wormed unless you are given a health record signed by a veterinarian showing the treatment. Look for tell-tale symptoms of parasites and take your dog to the veterinarian if you suspect your dog has not been properly dewormed.
That Little Itch Could Be Telling You Something
If Fido is scooting his bottom along the living room carpet, have him checked for intestinal worms. Roundworms and tapeworms pass through the feces, causing itching, burning and tickling sensations around a dog's anus that make him try to find relief. Infected dogs may also lick or bite the fur around their anus to try to relieve the discomfort. Closely check the fur under your dog's tail and around his anus to see if there are tapeworm egg sacs or pale pink roundworms clinging to the fur and make an appointment to see the vet for proper treatment.
Take a Peek When You're Cleaning Up
If you suspect your dog may not have been properly dewormed, take a look at his fresh droppings. Tapeworm segments and roundworms are sometimes visible to the unassisted eye as they move around in fresh feces. Tapeworms are flat and white and roundworms look like pale pink grains of rice. Hookworms and whipworms may cause diarrhea, as well as bleeding along the intestinal tract, which shows up in the fecal matter as red or black streaks. Blood in the stool is often accompanied by pale gums, indicating anemia. Consult your veterinarian to make sure you dog is properly treated.
That Nagging Cough
While a persistent cough can indicate a variety of conditions, including allergies, lung problems, poor heart function or a congenital defect, it is also a symptom of infection by a couple of types of parasites, indicating your dog may not have been properly dewormed. Heartworms fill the right ventricle of the heart and surrounding blood vessels, causing the dog to emit a soft cough as if clearing its throat. Lungworms take up residence in the trachea and lungs, causing a hacking cough and respiratory distress as they grow and block the airways.
If your dog is vomiting or has a bloated stomach, he may not have been properly dewormed and could have a case of parasites. That adorable round puppy belly could actually signal a case of roundworms he inherited from his infected mother. Pups may show signs of infection as young as 2 weeks old. Older dogs start to lose weight and get a dull, harsh appearance to their coats. Lethargy, listlessness and a faraway look in the eyes are other symptoms to watch for.