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Recognizing When Your Puggle Has Internal Parasites

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Puggles are known for being cuddly, playful, and energetic household companions. They are friendly with a fun-loving personality dog-lovers can’t help but gravitate towards. Like with most dogs, however, internal parasites can wreak havoc on your Puggle’s gut health. No one wants to see their little Puggle suffering from pain, especially if it can lead to life-long health issues.

A Puggle is a mixed-breed canine with Pug and Beagle ancestry. They are normally good-natured, easy-to-train pets. Noticeable changes to their personality or lower energy levels should be a red flag for you. It could indicate something is wrong and will require a closer look to ensure the Puggle is not suffering from internal parasites. As stated by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), a parasite is a living organism that thrives inside of a host, getting its food from or at the expense of the parasites’ host. This parasitic feeding could cause mild to severe illnesses for your canine companion. 

Types of Internal Parasites: Puggle Internal Parasites Explained

When reviewing the common types of internal parasites a dog can get, worm-related parasites are typically at the top of the list. From heartworm to whipworm, these parasites can live in a Puggle’s internal organs, where they fester and create worsening health conditions for them. These parasitic worms can live in animals for years and are detrimental to their health. Not only can these worms grow in individual size, but they can also multiply within the dog, cat, or other hosts. Medically, this increase in internal worm parasites is referred to as “the worm burden.” 

Heartworm

Once the heartworm enters the dogs’ bloodstream it travels to the heart, the main organ that pumps blood throughout the body. Cardiovascular issues are not far behind once the heartworm settles. These internal parasites remain in the heart, feeding and maturing until they are so large the sheer size begins disrupting the normal heart function. 

Heartworms’ life span is five to seven years, and they can grow up to twelve inches long. Imagine foot-long heartworm or multiple ones living in your dog’s heart for several years. Something that size will clog up the heart, causing inflammation throughout the cardiovascular system. This inflammation of the arterial walls will decrease the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. The decrease in blood flow will weaken the dog’s overall stamina. The heart will be forced to work even harder to maintain blood flow. This causes more stress on the cardiac organ and can impact the optimal functioning of other organs. 

Internal Parasites Found In the Intestines 

Gut health in a Puggle is paramount in preventing major health issues. Due to their smaller size, paying close attention to their nutrition is a must. Being slightly overweight, obese, or having diabetes coupled with internal parasites may further complicate their heart and gut health. 

Hookworms

Hookworms are parasitic organisms that can thrive inside a host organism’s small intestines within the digestive tract. As their designation states, they “hook” or attach themselves to the lining of the intestinal walls. They settle in, maturing by feeding off the host’s blood. Hookworms are hard to see because they grow to roughly one-eighth of an inch long or between two to three millimeters. They mature in approximately four to six weeks. Once the female is fully matured, they begin to lay eggs. Hookworms can lay as many as thirty-thousand eggs per day. The eggs don’t accumulate inside the small intestines either. Instead, the eggs travel through the rest of the digestive system, eventually exiting via the host’s feces. 

Since the hookworms feed off the blood of the host, a hookworm-infested dog will suffer from moderate to severe blood loss. Puppies are under more strain from these internal parasites because their body may not be able to handle the blood loss. Hookworms not only feed on the blood of their host, but the attachment site can also cause blood loss, too. When it comes to a Puggle, their size is not that far off from the average mid-size or large breed puppy. If a Puggle gets infected with hookworms, the more serious the infection, the increased likelihood of iron deficiency and related blood problems.  

Roundworms

Roundworms are intestinal parasites that can grow one to three inches long. They have “spaghetti-like” characteristics, are firm, whitish, and rounded. When the roundworms have reached adulthood, they lay eggs that pass in the feces. These eggs can mix into the soil and infect other animals who frequent the area. In climates with cooler temperatures, the roundworm incubation period can last longer. 

When the ingested eggs hatch, the larvae puncture the intestinal walls making their way into the bloodstream. From there, the roundworm can travel throughout the body, including other organs. Once in the canine’s intestinal tract, the roundworms will settle and begin to grow by living off of partially digested food

Tapeworms

Due to its flat, segmented characteristics, the tapeworm is one of the most dreaded internal parasites around. Tapeworm infection is also referred to as Cestodiasis, and the common type is known as Dipylidium Caninum. An adult tapeworm is comprised of tiny segments, referred to as proglottids which carry the male and female reproductive organs. 

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Causes of Internal Parasites In Puggles

The common misconception about worm parasites is your animal companion may have eaten something they weren’t supposed to. However, it’s not always due to your dog’s innocent curiosities. Heartworms, for instance, can enter your Puggle’s bloodstream from a bug bite. Mosquitos infected with heartworm are the main culprits. They are the carriers, and as much of a nuisance as mosquitos are, these bugs thrive during the warmer seasons and in warmer climates. It’s not hard for your little household pet to get bitten while playing out in the yard. Once the mosquito finds a target, the annoying bite provides an entrance for the heartworm. This parasite enters the dogs’ bloodstream and finds its way to the cardiovascular system where it tries to settle in the heart. 

What causes Puggles and other animals to become infected with hookworms is how they come across them. Once the hookworm eggs exit the dog’s body via the feces, they end up in the soil. The hookworm eggs and larvae live in the soil, which is where the canine can pick one up. Your dog may unknowingly lick and swallow a hookworm egg or larvae. The hookworm is also known to attach itself to the dog’s skin. If the dog didn’t swallow it due to contact with hookworm-infested soil, then it may have acquired the parasite from self-grooming. Aside from oral ingestion, hookworms can infect a host via skin-to-skin contact or while in utero. This means puppies can become infested with these internal parasites before they are born. 

The life cycle of roundworms and how they spread begins with the eggs. Since they are passed in the dog’s stool, they can end up living in the soil. A canine or other animal can get infected by coming in contact with the egg-infested feces or soil. The contact can happen through ingestion or by simply sniffing the waste. Once the eggs are inside, they hatch. The larvae spread throughout the liver and windpipe. When your pet coughs, it ends up swallowing the larvae. As soon as the larvae make it to the dog’s intestines, they settle in until they grow into full-sized adults. Once the females are grown enough to lay eggs, those eggs will pass in the stool, infest more soil, thus the infection cycle continues. Puppies are at higher risk of becoming infected with these internal parasites because they can be infected in utero or by drinking their mother’s milk. 

Tapeworm can infect a Puggle through ingestion, typically when your pet swallows a flea-host during their grooming process. Close contact with parasite-infected animals or infested feces is another possibility. Once the proglottids are swallowed, they attach themselves to the intestinal walls, growing by feeding on the nutrients that pass through the small intestine. 

Severe Health Conditions: How Internal Parasites Can Affect Your Puggle

The more internal parasites there are, such as a heavier worm burden, the more serious the health conditions will get. 

Heartworms, as its nomenclature says, thrive in the dog’s heart. If left to mature there, it will continue to disrupt blood flow. If not found and treated in time, a heartworm can cause permanent damage to the heart. Any dog that does not get help for this internal parasite will only get worse, with devastating results. The heartworm’s size will continue to clog the arterial walls of the heart, potentially leading to heart failure. 

Hookworms, in small numbers, can cause blood deficiencies, diarrhea, and weight loss. The severity of symptoms can indicate whether your Puggle is heavily infected with these internal parasites or not. If hookworms are not treated, over time, they will continue to impact your dog’s health. 

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Your younger Puggle or puppy are at higher risk of getting sick from roundworms because their immune systems are still developing. They may have a rougher time combating a roundworm infection than adult dogs do. For example, when Puggle puppies are infected by roundworm in utero, their mother could have had zero signs of internal parasites. This situation is common in cases where the mother was once infected with these parasitic worms. Dormant larvae or encysted larvae can remain hiding out in the dog’s tissues for months or even the rest of their lives. Remain cautious throughout your animal’s companion’s pregnancy if they once had intestinal parasites. 

Fortunately, tapeworms are not life-threatening. They don’t typically cause serious harm to your household pet. However, your dog may get irritable and constantly scratch or lick the skin around the anus. A heavily infected canine will begin to lose weight as this parasitic worm grows and continues to sustain itself on whatever nutrients your pooch consumes. A fully matured tapeworm can measure between four and twenty-eight inches long. 

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The Life Expectancy of a Puggle with Internal Parasites

The lifespan of a Puggle is around ten to fifteen years. Recovering from the harm an internal parasite had on your Puggle will not have a major impact on their life expectancy if it was caught and treated in time. It all depends on the type of internal parasite they got and the extent of damage to the Puggle’s organs. 

An important detail to keep in mind concerning smaller breed dogs is internal parasites like the heartworm can grow up to a foot in length. That’s an astounding twelve inches of another organism living inside a cardiac organ which isn’t that large to begin with. The height of an average small breed Puggle is between ten to fifteen inches. Their organs aren’t very large, and disruption to the heart’s functions by internal parasites can cause permanent damage. 

Internal parasites that thrive in the intestines will not impact the life expectancy of your Puggle. As long as proper treatment and preventative measures were taken, they can still have a long lifespan. 

Signs That Your Puggle Might Have Internal Parasites 

The presence of internal parasites in your pet can be challenging to recognize. Many parasites enter your canine’s body when they are at or near-microscopic sizes. This makes parasitic organisms hard to detect as eggs or larvae. Unfortunately, most people will notice or suspect a parasite once passed with the dog’s feces or from the occasional vomiting. 

Mild symptoms can manifest in your Puggle if they are infected with heartworm. They tend to develop an incessant cough. Fatigue will hit them sooner than before and you will notice moderate and even light exercise will simply wipe them out. As their energy levels dwindle, they will lose their appetite. 

Some of the symptoms of hookworm infection include diarrhea and weight loss. It isn’t easy to tell if your Puggle or other household pets are suffering from iron deficiency anemia, at least not until the problem has reached certain extremes. Canines that were once healthy and begin to show signs of malnutrition, have constant diarrhea, or just can’t seem to put on weight might indicate the presence of an intestinal parasite. 

Signs your Puggle or other household pets are infected with roundworms include a persistent cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. As time passes, the loveable canine may begin to look malnourished. If you suspect a roundworm infection, other symptoms to look for include, weight loss, dull fur coating, potbelly, weakness, and bellyaches. You may also notice worms visible in their vomit or stool. 

Tapeworm parasites are also visible in the feces of animals. When they exit from the animal, they look like grains of rice. They are small, roughly two millimeters in length and are firm with a yellowish coloring. You may be able to spot them crawling on the skin or stuck in the fur around the anus. They are also visible in the feces. If you notice your Puggle dragging their bottom across the floor, that may indicate the little one has this intestinal parasite. If your dog vomits, don’t be surprised if you see a small tapeworm or one that’s several inches long. 

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How To Care For and Treat Your Puggle For Internal Parasites 

At first, heartworms have such moderate symptoms some people won’t get worried. That’s one reason why heartworm is difficult to detect and can become life-threatening. Puggle’s are such spirited, active dogs, so if you notice a continuous decline in their energy levels, keep their cardiac health in mind. Getting an annual heartworm prevention treatment for your lively little canine is highly recommended to decrease the risk of worsening, permanent heart damage. 

There are safe and effective treatments for intestinal parasites like tapeworm, roundworm, and hookworm. Taking preventative measures is the best way to keep your Puggle and other household animal companions from getting internal parasites. When your friendly pet has finished playing outside or came into contact with other dogs, cats, or small rodents, keep their gut health in mind. Parasitic worms are common and can spread from animal to animal. If you have a curious, fun-loving Puggle who likes to explore possible outdoor environments, be aware there might be worm-infested areas.  

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A Happy Life: How To Help Your Puggle Live a Fulfilling Life With Internal Parasites

When your Puggle is properly treated for internal parasites, there is no reason they can’t live a fulfilling life. Maintaining a clean living environment, a nutritious diet, and an active lifestyle will keep your adorable canine happy and healthy. 

If a parasitic organism caused lasting damage to your pets’ organs, don’t let your loving canine companion fall into despair. Keeping a well-balanced diet will have a positive impact on your Puggle’s gut health. The proper nutrients will make all the difference to your pooch’s cardiovascular system, immune health, and overall well-being. 

Dogs can get anxious and stressed. Moreso after overcoming illnesses such as dealing with internal parasites. Keeping your Puggle and other loveable canines calm is an integral step to ensuring their overall mental and physical well-being.