Worms gain nourishment by feeding on your dachshund's internal organs, such as the gastrointestinal tract, heart, lungs, and liver. The extent of the infestation affects how ill or malnourished the puppy or adult becomes. Puppies, geriatric dogs, and the ill or immunocompromised are more susceptible to the effects of worms. They can become terribly ill and die.
A dog can become infected with heartworm when a mosquito carrying infective larvae bites the dog, injecting the larvae under her skin. The larvae develop into adult heartworms (six to twelve inches long) that take up residence in the dog's heart, pulmonary arteries, and major veins supplying the heart. Dogs left untreated die of congestive heart failure or sometimes from renal failure.
An infestation of heartworms is not uncommon among dogs residing in shelters. If your dachshund has been infested, there are treatments available to rid her of these worms. The treatment is not without risk and can cause heart failure or liver and kidney failure. Fortunately there are excellent medications that prevent heartworms from getting a foothold. These are available in daily chewable doses, monthly tablets, or as six-month injections.
Roughly 75 percent of all puppies and adolescents are infected with roundworms. These worms feed on the gastrointestinal tract, living and reproducing in the small intestines. Adult dogs can become infected by ingesting infective eggs or ingesting a host (such as a rodent) that is infected with dormant infective larvae. The larvae of these worms are commonly passed through the placenta to unborn pups or through the mother's milk when the pups nurse.
Newborn pups with roundworms have distended bellies. If left untreated, the puppies will become malnourished and emaciated. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, coughing from larval migration to the lungs, rough coat, and poor muscle development. Adult worms can be seen in the feces or vomit of an infected puppy or through microscopic identification of eggs in a fecal sample. Puppies should be wormed at two, four, six, eight, ten, and twelve weeks of age. Once the puppy or dog is clear of roundworms, certain heartworm preventives can be used to prevent a reinfestation.
Hookworms attach themselves to the lining of the intestine, where they set up camp and go about eating and reproducing. Because they feed on blood, hookworms can cause anemia, chronic bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. The same wormers that are effective for roundworms fortunately work to eradicate hookworm infestations. Prevention is also the same.
Another blood ingester, the whipworm, takes up residence in the dog's colon. Whipworms are tough to get rid of because adult whipworms can live as long as sixteen months, and their larvae can survive thirty-five days or longer. Few eggs pass in the feces, making it difficult to detect an infestation, called trichuriasis. Symptoms of infestation include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. Veterinarians will often begin treating for the worms if the dog or puppy is showing these clinical signs.
Worming agents are effective in eradicating whipworms; however, owners must be diligent in keeping the dog's yard clean and free of feces on a daily basis to prevent a heavy recontamination of the dog. As with roundworms and hookworms, infestations can be prevented entirely through the use of some heartworm preventives.
This worm can grow to lengths of up to several feet, depending on the species. Tapeworms ingest blood and reside in the puppy or adult dog's small intestines. Most puppies and dogs are asymptomatic, or lacking any specific symptoms, when the worms are present. Heavy infestations may cause slight weight loss, a decrease in appetite, and a dull coat. Diagnosis is most often made when the owner spots sections of tapeworm in the dog's feces.
Ingestion of fleas from an infected mouse, rat, or — the dachsie favorite — rabbit can infect the dog. Limiting exposure to these critters and their fleas helps in preventing infestations. If there is an infestation, your veterinarian will be able to give you a worming agent to vanquish the tapeworm population in your dog's intestines.