Dogs and cats are victims of several internal parasites frequently referred to as worms. Worms can cause suffering, illness and even death for our beloved pets.
Types of Worms
Tapeworm. This type of worm is common amongst both cats and dogs and will often go hand-in-hand with a flea infestation. Tapeworms are often picked up by ingesting eggs laid by fleas. If you spot small, rice-like grains in your pet’s faeces, they may have picked up tapeworms.
Roundworm. This type of worm commonly affects both cats and dogs and can potentially be spread to humans. If you come across spaghetti-like strands in your pet’s vomit or faeces, it is likely to indicate a roundworm infestation.
Lungworm. Lungworm is a general term for several species of nematode worms of the order Strongylida. All of them migrate to their hosts’ lungs and damage the lung tissue, hence the lung worm name.
Where do worms come from?
Pets can pick worms up in numerous ways, here are some of the most common:
- From other infected animals.
- From eating the larvae or eggs of worms.
- From infected prey animals, infected parasites, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls.
Symptoms of Worms
There will not always be symptoms that your pet has worms and those that do occur can be mistaken for other health problems. This includes dry and coarse fur, diarrhoea, weight loss, and weakness. However, some affected pets may seem healthy and show no outward signs that anything is wrong.
You may see worms in faeces or vomit, or around your pet’s bottom. If you do see any worms on or near your animal, wrap them up in damp cotton wool and take them to the vet.
How to prevent worms in your pet?
It is relatively easy to protect your pet through a regular worming routine. Year-round flea prevention is recommended to prevent tapeworm infestations. As well as guarding against flea infestations, this will also significantly reduce the possibility that your pet will come into contact with tapeworm eggs.
For lungworm prevention, it is vital to use suitable preventative products monthly; unfortunately, treatment only every 3 months (often advised for other types of worms) leaves the dog unprotected against lungworm, risking disease and even death.
You should also ensure food and water bowls are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Only use a disinfectant that is safe for animals.
Worms have been around for as long as pets. However, the appropriate use of anti-worm medications means that the is risk can easily be kept to a minimum. Speak to your vet about a regular worming routine for your beloved pet.