Types of Worms
There are several different types of worms that can affect your Chi but roundworms and tapeworms are the most common so we’ll concentrate on these two parasites in this article. As a good Chihuahua owner you will want to know what these parasites are and how to treat them.
Roundworms are most often described as short pieces of spaghetti. They can grow up to four inches in length and live in your Chihuahua’s intestines, living off the food you feed your pet. One of the most important things to know about roundworms is that puppies can be born with them. If the mother dog is infested they can pass through to the puppies before they are even born. Most puppies have some roundworms present.
Tapeworm has a more complicated lifecycle than roundworms. Tapeworm has to go through another host (a flea for example) before infecting your Chi. Fleas are a major irritation for your pet but more importantly, as a host for tapeworm they can infect your Chi if eaten. Therefore it is very important to keep your Chi flea free. Tapeworms can grow up to two feet long and attach themselves to an animal’s intestinal wall and feed off blood.
Signs and Symptoms of Infestation
If you have just brought home your new Chi puppy you are probably very excited. Thoughts of the fun you are going to have often overwhelm the more practical side of dog ownership. Buying Chihuahua clothes and seeking out Chihuahua training tips are more exciting than the thought of deworming. But don’t overlook the signs and symptoms of parasite infestation.
Roundworm infestation with your puppy can show a number of symptoms. Dull coat, lack of energy, and a pot bellied appearance are outward signs to look for. If your Chi has a large roundworm burden they may vomit worms or pass them out with a bowel movement. These worms are often alive so don’t be alarmed if you see a squiggling mass – make sure to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible to get appropriate dewormers.
If your Chihuahua has tapeworms you are most likely to notice the worms in the stool or on your pet’s rear end. Unlike roundworms which look like spaghetti, tapeworms look like flattened grains of rice. This is actually only a segment of the mature worm which breaks off and passes through your Chi’s system.
When your veterinarian prescribes a dewormer it is important to know that not all products treat all types of worms. Also depending on what country you live in, the available dewormers may be different.
Both liquid and tablet dewormers are available for treatment of roundworms. Panacur, Interceptor, and Strongid are common products used in the treatment of roundworms. Check with your vet about their suggested schedule of deworming for your Chi puppy. Due to the fact that puppies often are born with roundworms they are treated multiple times before the age of six months.
Drontal is usually the only option available for the treatment of tapeworm. It tends to be more expensive than other products so unless you suspect tapeworm infestation another product is usually prescribed. If tapeworm is suspected it is also important to get on a flea control program because most pet dogs are infected with tapeworm by eating host fleas during grooming.
Dewormers do not stay in your pet’s system for any length of time. They do their job and then pass through. If the worms are at different life stages inside your Chi the dewormer will only kill the adult worms present in the gut. Treatment two weeks later with a second dose of dewormer will kill any worms that have developed since the first treatment and a second treatment is often recommended.
Both roundworms and tapeworms pose a threat to you as a pet owner. Make sure to wash your hands after handling your Chi’s feces and get on a regular schedule of deworming and flea control. Protecting yourself and your family from parasitic infestation is extremely important.