Worms are an internal parasite that infect dogs – but with appropriate prevention measures they are rarely a serious problem.

Worms in dogs are an internal parasite that in most cases live inside the intestine of a dog. Dogs also can be infested with ringworm, though despite common understanding this is actually caused by a type of fungus and not a parasitic worm. The most common types of dog worms are roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, tapeworm and heartworm. Dogs become infested with worms in a number of ways – quite often they can be born with them, get them from flea or mosquito bites and being scavengers they can pick them up by eating wild animals or even feces.

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Worms, for the most part, are not a serious problem when correctly treated. They can be just quite disgusting to think about. If left untreated, however, heartworm and hookworm can be potentially fatal. There are also numerous health risks associated with worms being passed on from dogs to young children. This is most common in the roundworm known as “toxocara”, which children can become infested with by playing in soil dogs have defecated on or even eating a dog’s feces.

Toxocara can result in fever and rash or in cases where the worms reach the eyes or brain and spine they can cause blindness or neurological defects respectively. This is the actual reason why most developed countries require dog owners to pick up after their dog – not just because it keeps the place clean, but because it helps prevent the spread of such illnesses.

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