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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

About 5 months ago, my wife and I adopted a beagle from a shelter. She's 6 years old and is in pretty good health other than some hip/spine arthritis and possible mild dysplasia setting in. She's had the usual battery of vaccinations (parvo, rabies, kennel cough, etc) plus a giardia vaccination. We're currently using Advantix for flea/tick prevention and Heartgard for heartworm prevention.

Back in April, she got really lethargic for a few days so I took her into the vet who diagnosed her with the arthritis. The vet prescribed some Metacam and Tramadol to help with the pain which seemed to do the trick. Within a couple of days she was back to herself, loving walks, and hopping up on the couch to watch TV with us. I used up the Metacam and stopped giving her the Tramadol since she seemed back to normal and I don't want to keep my dog doped up on something.

Last week, she started getting lethargic again and her hind legs were a little shakey. After calling the vet, she thought that her pain might be acting up again due to the stretch of cool, humid weather we had so refilled the Metacam prescription. It again worked and she's been back to her normal self but seems to still have a little pain in that she won't jump up on the couch anymore. I've also noticed that the last couple of days her poop has been a little loose but that's one of Metacam's side effects so I didn't think anything of it.

This evening, I just scooped up one of her loose poops and there were 3-4 little worms underneath it. They were dark brown/black, flat, and appeared to have "horns" at one end. They were about 1/2" long. I always clean up after her and occasionally squish it around to make sure there's nothing abnormal. The only thing that I've seen before is, after it's dried, sometimes it looks like there are white hairs in it. And it's got a little orange tint from the scoop of pumpkin that I put in her food.

Does this sound like a hookworm or some other kind of parasitic worm? Or could this have been some other weird worm/slug thing that happened to be in my back yard? I've never had a fecal exam done, but she had full bloodwork and heartworm tests when the vet saw her in April in which nothing appeared wrong with her.

She has been scooting her butt along the ground regularly for awhile now. A month or two ago, my father in law mentioned that usually indicated worms in his dogs. So I figured a dewormer was in order and I gave her the "large dogs" dose of Safe-Guard dewormer since she's 35lbs. Should I give her another shot of this or some other OTC dewormer?

I know that I should take her into the vet for a 100% guarantee but I likely won't be able to until mid next week. I'm hoping that someone here has an idea of what could be going on.
 

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http://www.thepetcenter.com/exa/worms.html

This site can give you some information.
The only way to know for sure what kind of worms they are is to have a fecal tested at the vet as many parasites are diagnosed by way of looking for their eggs under a microscope rather than seeing them in the feces itself. As far as I know only roundworms and tapeworms are ones where you may actually see the adults in the feces.
It is very likely that the things you saw were in the garden itself prior to the bowel movement...

I do recommend though, if your dog has been scooting that he have her feces checked at the vet ANd have her anal glands checked. Sore, infected or overfull anal glands can cause itching and pain in the area.

I also think that aside from adding supplements for the arthritic conditions your dog has that you need to realize that it is most likely that the metacam or rimadyl may be needed in her life indefinitely to properly manage her pain over time. Used occasionally in case of acute injury is one thing, but true arthritic conditions need pain relief that is consistent because the discomfort is permanent. You can try adding supplements like chondroiton/glucosamine/msm to her diet and see if this can reduce the need for the pharmaceuticals..some dogs do really well on only the supplements..but remembering that dogs will only show pain or discomfort if it is pronounced, means that appearances of being okay are not always indicative or accurate regarding her pain levels. Very slight behaviour changes need to be watched.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the reply, Cracker! I'll try to get a fecal sample done to be 100% sure. It's really hard to do, though, since the vet said they need it within 30 minutes of the dog pooping so that it's fresh. And the vet's office is about a 20 minute drive. After looking at the site, it's entirely possible that the little worm things I found could have just been in the lawn and she happened to poop on them like you say. It just freaked me out a little bit to see things wiggling around in her poop.

As far as the arthritis pain goes, I've been giving her a glucosamine/chondroiton/msm supliment twice daily that adds up to 500mg of glucosamine and chondroiton per day. Plus, I massage the knots in front of her hips to help relieve muscle tighness (she gets a look of sheer ecstasy when I do that so I know it helps). And I'm defiitely going to keep Metacam on hand and use it during the cold, humid days.

After doing some more poking around on the internet, I found this picture of a flatworm and this looks a lot like what I saw last night. The only thing is that it says these worms only live in water...so either it somehow got in my lawn (I don't have any ponds nor has my dog drank out of one) or it's not really a flatworm. But at least this is sort of what it looked like.

http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/flatworm.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've seen earwigs before and the worms I saw were definitely not an earwig. They were definitely a worm or some kind as they didn't have any legs or segments and were slimey looking.

When she pooped again this morning, it was pretty regular. As gross as it is, I kinda smooshed it around and didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

In a week, it will be time for another dose of Heartguard - is it unwise to use an OTC dewormer close to the time I give her Heartguard? I read the infomation leaflet that cam in the box and it didn't really say anything about that.
 
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