Your Dog Could Get a Skin Worm Infection from Damp Bedding!
Does Your Dog Sleep on Damp Bedding?
Many dog owners love spoiling their fur babies, and not only through snuggles, treats, playtime, and toys, but also through preventative measures, like vaccinations and regular vet visits. However, danger could be lurking right under your nose, or in this case, your dog’s bedding, without you knowing about it. When was the last time you checked your dog’s bed and blankets? Are they damp? If they are, whether from moisture or saliva, then your dog may be at risk of getting a skin worm infection!
What Causes a Skin Worm Infection?
What causes skin worm infection, medically known as Pelodera dermatitis, is a parasitic worm called Pelodera strongyloides. It’s known to be ubiquitous, meaning it’s basically everywhere, but it’s normally found in moist soil and decaying matter. However, it can also take residence in damp surfaces and indoor items, like beddings and carpets.
While most would think that the adult Pelodera worms are the ones infecting our canine friends, it’s actually the larvae that do all the damage. Every time a dog lies down on moist bedding, they’re at risk of becoming infected and having larvae burrow into their skin. Compared to healthy dogs, however, dogs that have cuts, wounds, or skin irritations and problems are more likely to contract the parasite.
What Does a Skin Worm Infection Look Like?
If your dog has a skin worm infection, you’ll see red, irritated or crusty patches of skin, as well as pus-filled lesions and bald spots, in areas that often come into contact with their damp bedding. This typically includes the legs, groin, stomach, chest, and the genital or butt area. In most cases, the affected spots become really itchy, so you’ll probably also notice your dog scooting and biting or scratching more than usual.
How Can Vets Confirm a Skin Worm Infection?
To confirm if your dog has a skin worm infection, your veterinarian will need to perform a skin biopsy, which is a procedure where skin scrapings, or in this case, portions of the lesions on your dog’s body, are taken and sent to the lab for further evaluation. The skin sample will be examined under the microscope and if your dog is infected, live Pelodera larvae will be seen in the hair follicles.
How Is a Skin Worm Infection Treated?
In most cases, a skin worm infection clears up on its own. However, if the skin damage is too severe, your veterinarian may prescribe steroid medications to reduce inflammation and shorten your dog’s healing time.
They may also suggest that you use a bug spray to keep potentially harmful and disease-causing insects from worsening your dog’s condition. We personally love these ones; they work amazingly! But don’t take our word for it, other pet owners love ’em, too!
Additionally, to prevent reinfection and make sure that your canine companion makes a complete, complication-free recovery, throw away the contaminated bedding and disinfect your dog’s sleeping area right away.
How Can a Skin Worm Infection Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent your dog from getting a skin worm infection is to make sure that their personal space and belongings, especially beddings, blankets, and fabric toys, are clean and dry at all times.
Disinfect your dog’s sleeping area regularly and wipe away pee or spilled water immediately. Additionally, all wet items should be dried under the sun or in the dryer.
Another thing to keep in mind is to always dry your dog’s paws and fur after taking them for walks or outdoor swimming sessions. To make things easier, you may want to consider getting a water-resistant dog bed.
However, if that’s not an option, then you can simply place a water-absorbent mat under your dog’s bed to dry their paws before they step onto their sleeping space. And lastly (this one may be a bit more challenging), avoid letting your furry friend chew their toys on their doggie bed. Try to encourage them to chew outside or on easy-to-clean surfaces, like cement or tiled floors, to prevent saliva from seeping into fabric and harboring all kinds of pathogens.