Like humans, dogs need to rest as well after a long day of playing, exercising, and cuddling with their owners. Some people allow their pets to sleep beside them at night, while some prefer to have their furry friends sleep on a dog bed. However, there is a hidden danger in this simple situation.
Notice how the bedding can get wet sometimes? Many owners are baffled by this as the main reason for wet bedding often seems to happen without a specific cause. The main issue lies in how it can contribute to acquiring worm infection.
What Is A Skin Worm Infection?
Known as Pelodera Dermatitis, this parasitic worm can infect different animals, including dogs. It is a rare and acute dermatosis where a larva of a Pelodera Strongyloides invades the skin. The larvae of this parasite are present in many locations where there is a decaying matter or moist soil. They can also multiply on wet bedding, possibly infecting a dog without the owner’s knowledge.
This parasite cannot invade healthy skin. Dogs with existing dermatoses and other conditions that cause skin maceration can facilitate invasion.
What Does A Skin Worm Infection Look Like?
Skin worm infestation often appears in red, irritated, swollen, and crusty patches on the skin. They can also be seen through bald spots and pus-filled lesions after getting in contact with wet bedding.
The most common areas of infection that appear are on the legs, stomach, groin, butt, and genital area, as they are often exposed to the bedding or other infected places. Owners can also take constant scratching, biting, and scooting as a clue that there is a possible skin worm infection.
How Do Vets Diagnose Skin Worm Infection?
The first thing vets do to confirm a potential skin worm infection is by performing a skin biopsy. They bring the skin scrapings and lesions to the lab for evaluation. The vet will then examine the skin sample under the microscope.
Pelodera larvae can also be seen clinging onto the hair follicles. Usually, it only takes finding five individual live larvae to verify the diagnosis. Once the vet confirms the skin infection, they will begin to discuss the treatment plans and prescribe medications for the dog.
How Is A Skin Worm Infection Treated?
Usually, skin worm infections go away on their own after some time. Vets will also prescribe steroid medication if the skin damage is in terrible condition. This reduces inflammation and speeds up the skin’s healing process.
Some also suggest using bug sprays as it can control the growth of disease-causing insects and parasites on the dog’s bedding and other related objects. Fortunately, any dog owner can easily find great bug sprays in supermarkets that are safe for dogs.
How To Prevent Skin Worm Infection?
It would be best to keep their personal belongings and space clean, disinfected, and always dry when it comes to prevention. Be sure to wipe the pee, spilled water, and saliva immediately as they can wet the bedding. All items should be dried — whether in the dryer or under the sun.
Other than these, you can also try the following:
- Cleaning paws after walking and outdoor swimming
- Placing absorbent mats under the dog bed
- Keeping dogs from chewing their dog bed
It is a responsible owner and foster’s duty to protect a dog from acquiring skin worms. It is seriously uncomfortable and can lead to severe complications if left untreated. Fortunately, there are available medications and methods that can be done to treat and prevent this situation.
Be a foster or a shelter volunteer today! You can sign up at Doobert and join us as we create a safe space for animal rescues!