Dog Who Can’t Walk Has Worms in Legs

Rare parasites called mesocestoides can migrate through a dog’s skin.


Q. Suddenly one day, our dog had trouble walking on his back legs, then he could not walk at all. We took him to the vet and they said nothing was broken, but upon further evaluation they found that he had 6- to 8-inch worms in his ankles. One leg had a cut on it, but the other leg did not. The vet said he has never seen anything like this. My dog has a lot of infection and the vet is still trying to let it all drain. Do you have any idea what kind of worms these could be?

A. Sometimes I get a question that’s so bizarre I think one of my friends sent it in as a joke. This question struck me that way at first, but then I remembered a case I saw in the ER, where a dog came in with a swelling under the skin on his neck. After sedating the dog, we opened up the swelling and discovered worm-like parasites known as mesocestoides.
These are relatively rare parasites that can migrate through the skin. They don’t usually cause severe signs, such as inability to walk, but it’s certainly possible if they infiltrate an area around nerves in the legs and feet. Once the parasites are physically removed, your dog should be given a deworming medication to ensure any remaining parasites are killed.
It’s hard to speculate how your dog may have acquired these worms, but hopefully he will make a full recovery.


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Sam   wales, Massachusetts

2/13/2014 3:07:29 PM

Hi I know this is very random but I need help! I bought a 7 week old staffy puppy today (I know he is too young to be sold but I feared he wasn't being treated very well so wanted to take him in). When I checked him over he has small lumps with scabs on around his head and one big scab on his back leg. I also noticed his stomach was extremely bloated and he was crying a lot. I used a worming table on him and within an hour he passed through a lottttt of worms! I thought it would have ended there but he then ate some food and the extremely large bloated stomach and whimpering is back, does anyone know if this could be extreme case of worms or any other idea? he is booked into the vets for Monday that was the earliest I could get so just want some advice as that's 4 days


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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

5/31/2013 10:00:59 AM

Very interesting case.

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