QUESTION: I've got a little Pomeranian/pug. She's 8 years old and I've had her since she was 5 weeks old. She's a very much loved and spoiled little dog :). She gets regular veterinary care. She picked up some kind of 'worm' in SW Florida. She also seems to get sick about once a month?. She gets a fever, has diarrhea and vomiting. I've taken her to the vet many times. We still don't know what's going on. I've got a picture of some dog poo for you with a lot of hair-like worms? in it. Do you have any idea what this could be? I would greatly appreciate your opinion.
ANSWER: The "hair-like worms" in your dog's stool look more like hair to me than worms. If she is doing a lot of licking of her coat, she could be ingesting some of her own hair, which would then pass through her and come out with her stools. Be sure you brush her well at least once a week to get any loose hair out of her coat.
If these are indeed worms, your vet should be able to tell you just what kind they are and prescribe the proper treatment to eliminate them. You should be taking a stool sample to your vet at least once a year so that s/he can examine it for parasites/eggs.
As to the other health issues your dog is having, these can be caused by parasites, or something the dog is eating. She may be having issues with some particular ingredient in her regular food that she cannot tolerate, or she may be ingesting something outside that is bothering her. (Several years ago some of my dogs were eating the tomatoes that we were growing in our back yard, although those did not bother them.) Many plants that we grow in our yard/home are toxic to our dogs. Also, someone in the neighborhood could be throwing something nasty into your yard that she is finding to eat; it wouldn't be the first time that has happened to someone.
When you put your dog outside, leave her out only long enough to potty and then bring her right back inside. Watch her when she is out there and see if she gravitates toward any of your plants for a quick nibble or if she appears to be eating anything out there. Some dogs will eat their own stools if they are not picked up fast enough.
Below are some good articles to read that may help you:
Good luck with your dog!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for replying so quickly. It can't be hair in her poo because her hair is always cut short (because of knotting and it's easier to keep her clean.) So it's not her hair in her stool. Also, she doesn't lick herself that often. And it can't be something in our yard because we live in an apartment and there's nothing outside as far as plants go. And she is never, ever outside alone. She is always on a leash with one of us walking her. So, what is in her poo has to be a parasite of some kind. Do you know of any worms that look like hair?
Sorry, but this really is a question for a veterinarian, which I am not. Take a stool sample in and s/he should be able to tell you what parasite(s) your dog has and give you medication to eliminate the them. As I said previously, the parasites could possibly be causing the other problems your dog has been experiencing.
If you are not happy with your current veterinarian, look for another one. Ask some of your doggy friends who they use and if they like him/her. As in all things, some veterinarians are better than others.