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Signs & Symptoms of Bladder Parasites in Dogs

The bladder worm is a type of nematode that rarely infects the bladders of canines. Also known as capillaria plica, the bladder worm can infect dogs directly through consumption of contaminated food or water; or through an intermediate host, such as the earthworm. The larvae of this bladder parasite then works its way through the digestive system and takes root in the canine bladder.

Bladder Parasites



Unfortunately, bladder worms may be hard to detect because they are rare and rarely cause any signs of disease. The eggs of a bladder worm can also be confused with the eggs of whipworms or lungworms, making identification difficult.


Urinary Incontinence

An article by the Merck Veterinary manual notes that for some dogs, bladder parasites can cause urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a condition in which the dog is unable to control his bladder, which can lead to mild to severe urine leakage.



Pollakiuria is a term used to describe unusually frequent urination. A dog with pollakiuria may beg to be let out more often or have accidents around the home.



Dr. Bari Spielman of PetPlace.com notes that some dogs may suffer from hematuria. Hematuria is a term used to describe blood that is present in the urine.


Microscopic Hematuria

In some cases, hematuria may be discovered only under a microscopic examination of a urine sample.


Epithelial Cells

During a microscopic examination of a urine sample, the veterinarian may notice an unusual or increased amount of epithelial cells present.


Painful Urination

Dr. Bari Spielman notes that some dogs may suffer from painful urination when infected with bladder parasites. This may be noted as whimpering or whining when urinating or it may be seen as frequent attempts to urinate or small amounts of urine being passed, since urination is so painful for the affected dog.


Urinary Tract Infections

Many times, bladder worms can cause frequent or reoccurring urinary tract infections. The symptoms of a urinary tract infection are much like the symptoms that may present when a dog is infected with a bladder parasite.


Abdominal Pain

For some dogs, bladder worms can cause abdominal pain. Abdominal pain can vary from dog to dog and may be mild to severe in nature.


Weight Loss & Diarrhea

An article by the Department of Animal Health at the University of Parma in Italy noted that a dog infected with bladder worms suffers from weight loss accompanied by diarrhea, although these are not common symptoms associated with canine bladder parasites.


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