Beaphar Worm Awareness - WORMclear - When did you last worm your pet?

How do dogs get worms?

There are several species of roundworm that affect dogs. The most common type is Toxocara canis. These worms can be several inches in length, and have round bodies (very similar to a tiny earthworm, but without the segments). They are a whitish or pinkish brown colour due to ingested material. These worms are spread from dog to grass to dog. The eggs are microscopic in size and are passed in the faeces. They stick to muzzles and feet, and are ingested again by licking. Subsequently, the larvae hatch in the intestines of the dog, travel to the liver, into the bloodstream, and so enter the lungs. They are coughed up from the lungs, and are swallowed again, so reaching the intestines, where they mature into adults and start producing eggs, thus completing the cycle. The adult worms are usually noticed in puppies when they are vomited or passed in the faeces. In the adult dog, many larvae remain as harmless ‘cysts’ in the muscles, but a number reach egg-laying adulthood in the gut. In the pregnant and lactating female, when immunity is suppressed, the larvae in the cysts can become active again, infecting the puppies via the placenta before birth, and the milk after birth.

In conclusion, puppies are born with worms, and dogs pick up worm eggs from the environment every day throughout their lives, ingesting these when they lick themselves.