What are worms and how do pets get them?
There are many species of worms which affect cats and dogs. These include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, lungworm and heartworm to name a few! These parasites can be found in the digestive systems and even circulatory systems of animals and cause considerable harm and even death.
Puppies and kittens can be born with a worm burden from their mothers and through drinking their milk. Worms can also be contracted from another infected animal (ingestion of larvae and worms in faeces or grass), infected prey, raw meat and even other infected parasites (eg. fleas can carry worm larvae).
How do I know if my pet has worms?
Healthy pets showing no signs of worms may still have them. We therefore recommend regular worm treatment as prevention.
Some signs that your pet may be suffering from worms include:
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss
- Licking or rubbing of the bottom on the floor
- Fleas (fleas carry the larvae of some worms)
- Infected kittens/puppies with large burdens may display a ‘pot bellied’ appearance (distended abdomens)
Worm burdens can lead to more severe health problems when left untreated such as intestinal blockage, severe lung disease and many other complications which can be fatal.
Are humans at risk from worms?
Humans, especially children are at risk of developing roundworm infections. Children at play outdoors have higher chances of coming into contact with the faeces of worm infected pets.
Roundworm eggs can develop into larvae which can lodge behind the retina in the eye causing damage/blindness.
How do I prevent worms in my pet and the danger to humans?
Reduce the risk to humans by:
- Picking up faeces using a bag/’poop scoop’. Roundworm eggs can take around 3 weeks to become infectious and can remain so for up to 2 years making old faeces risky.
- Ensure that hands are washed after handling animals, especially young children after playing with puppies/kittens. Puppies/kittens can start passing roundworm eggs in faeces from as early at 2-3 weeks of age.
- Regularly worm your pets using prescription worming treatments
How often should my pet be wormed?
We recommend the following treatment regimes:
Puppies and kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then monthly till 6 months and following this can assume an adult worming interval
Adult cats and dogs can be wormed monthly/ 3 monthly depending on the product used
Fleas in dogs and cats should also be prevented in order to avoid concurrent worm infection
Bitches and queens should be wormed regularly prior to mating. Pregnant animals should be wormed only under direction from your veterinarian (to ensure appropriate safe substances/frequencies are used)
Please give us a call for more information regarding the anti-parasite treatments for your pet.
01983 212 999