Vet holding dog and cat

Focus on worms

Both dogs and cats need to be regularly treated for worms. The most common form of worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Most of the time your pet can be infected with worms without you even knowing. Because of this, both dogs and cats worming schedules should be followed closely to prevent them from infection.

In this article, we will explore the different types of worms that can infect your pet.

Vet holding dog and cat
It is essential to stay on top of worming treatment for your pet

Roundworms

This is the most common type of worm in both dogs and cats. Adult roundworms live in the intestines of our pets and can produce 200,000 eggs per day. Many pets don’t show any signs of being infected, however in major cases of infection the symptoms are:

  • Rapid breathing, nasal discharge and cough, sometimes pneumonia
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Poor overall condition, weight loss and a poor coat
  • Faeces with spaghetti-like worms up to 18cm

Whipworms

Whipworms aver 4 – 7.5cm in length and can live up to 1.5 years. Their eggs are very resistant and can remain infectious for up to 5 years in the environment. Whipworms usually only infect dogs and cause problems especially in kennels. Most infections are without symptoms but sometimes can lead to slimy diarrhoea and fresh blood.

Hookworms

These worms live in the small intestine and feed on the lining of the intestines and can be potentially fatal. Hookworms also suck blood which can lead to internal blood loss. In older animals, the blood loss may be chronic, and the pet may have diarrhea and show weight loss.

Tapeworms

This tapeworm is largely harmless and is transmitted via fleas and sometimes lice. Cats and dogs can catch a flea and eat it, and in doing so can infect itself with the eggs of the tapeworm that are inside the flea. Tapeworm can grow to up to about 50cm but a pet will only show symptoms when there are many of them – such as diarrhoea.

How to protect your pet

It is essential to stay on top of worming treatment for your pet. Take note of their last treatment and when their next treatment is due to ensure that they stay protected at all times. As well as a timely treatment there are extra things you can do to keep your pet protected:

  • Disinfect food and water bowls regularly
  • Annual wellness checks with your veterinarian.
  • Pick up after your pet regularly
  • Keep their common areas clean