At every visit, your veterinarian wants to take a stool sample from your boxer. Fecal exams are an important part of keeping your dog healthy and free of dangerous parasites. Learn about what worms may infect your boxer, and know how to get rid of them.
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The most common type of intestinal worm in dogs is the tapeworm. Your boxer may become infested with tapeworms if he eats a flea that is carrying tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms absorb nutrients in your dog's intestines, and a large tapeworm infestation could cause nausea, diarrhea and nutrient deficiencies. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends deworming your dog monthly for tapeworms, especially if your dog also is struggling with fleas.
Roundworms (ascarids) are parasites that feed off of food in the intestines. Dogs may be infected with roundworms through three main methods: eating eggs in the environment, eating an animal infected with roundworms, and nursing from a mother dog infected with roundworms. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends deworming your dog twice a year for roundworms, although more regular treatments may be required for dogs with chronic infestations.
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Hookworms, like roundworms, are very common in the environment and are contracted similarly to roundworms. In addition, hookworms can penetrate the skin and migrate through the body to the intestinal wall, where they latch onto the intestinal wall and cause bleeding. Hookworms can cause anemia, dehydration and bloody diarrhea. Severe infestations can even cause puppies or small dogs to bleed to death if left untreated. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends deworming your dog twice a year for hookworms, although more regular treatments are suggested for puppies and for dogs with chronic infestations.
Whipworms are less common and less dangerous than other types of worms. Your boxer may become infected with whipworms if he eats the eggs present in the environment. Many dogs with whipworms show no symptoms at all, although severe infestations may cause diarrhea, weight loss and anemia. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends having regular fecal examinations and treating dogs that test positive for whipworms. Some monthly heartworm preventatives also kill whipworms.
Unlike most other worm parasites, heartworms live in the heart and lungs, and not in the intestinal tract. Heartworms are spread by mosquitos, so keeping your dog on a monthly preventative when mosquitos are present is critical. If your boxer does contract heartworms, the treatment is costly, and the recovery is lengthly and risky.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.