Happy healthy pets

Worming

Common misconception:

"My dog doesn't have worms, I can't see any worms when they go to the toilet"

Fact:

Dogs get worms from their mother at birth and carry them for their life time.  As no treatment is 100% effective it is highly likely that your pet will have worms and that their numbers will gradually increase after worming. Many worms in animals are too tiny to see with the naked eye.  Larger worms (roundworms) may be present in high numbers without worms being visible on the outside.  

Tapeworms are probably the easiest to diagnose as these shed small segments that can reproduce to create new worms. These segments can move and are often noted around the bottom of infected dogs or in areas where they rest. These worms are contagious to people so this is particularly concerning for people with young children.

 

Adults

This is why we recommend all adult cats and dogs are wormed every 3 months through out their lives.  Some worming products use words like 'controls' rather than 'treats'.  This generally means these products are not as effective as the veterinarian recommended treatments.  Always use a wormer purchased from a Veterinarian or pet shop and avoid supermarket brands as the quality of these is highly variable. 

Puppies & Kittens

Young animals are particularly susceptible to worms as they have not developed any immunity to them yet.  This is why puppies and kittens need to be wormed more frequently.

As a general rule worm your new puppy of kitten at;

  • 6,8,10 and 12 weeks old (every 2 weeks until 12 weeks old)
  • Then monthly until they are 6 months old 
  • Then worm as an adult animal.  The easiest way to remember this is on the first day of each new season. 

Worming for pregnancy

If breeding your pet the expectant mother should be wormed with a product safe for pregnancy around 2 weeks before her due date. It is important to then worm the mother and the babies every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old.  A good quality worming syrup is often a good option for young animals as it is easy to use.

 

More on intestinal worms

There are two broad categories of worms that may affect our pet dogs and cats, intestinal worms and heartworms.  Please see our heartworm page for more information.

As their name suggests, intestinal worms are parasites that live inside your pet’s intestines. These worms range in size from small to surprisingly large (up to 18cm in length). Regardless of their size however, they all have negative, and potentially deadly effects.

Most species of animal, as well as humans, can be infected with intestinal worms including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, fish, birds and reptiles.

Common intestinal worms in Australian pets are:

  • Roundworm

  • Tapeworm

  • Whipworm

  • Hookworm

If your pet has a large number of worms it may find it difficult to maintain body condition and it can lose weight. In some cases it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even anemia (a low red blood cell level). Occasionally, heavy intestinal worm burdens can cause death.

Worms sometimes have complex lifecycles which involve a period of existence and development outside your pet. Understanding the life cycle of a specific worm is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented.  For instance, some tapeworms need to pass through fleas to complete their lifecycle, so flea prevention is an important method of controlling tapeworms.

It is important to maintain a routine worming treatment for your pets, to reduce the incidence of infection and to reduce environmental contamination. There are many worming treatments available for the various worm infections that occur in our pets.These are available as tablets, spot-ons, or pastes. Re-infection is a common problem, particularly in pets that are in contact with a heavily contaminated environment. Another very important reason to worm your pets is to protect your family; as children in particular can become infected with certain dog and cat worms.

Below are some tips to consider regarding worm prevention:

  • Promptly clean up pet faeces

  • Practice good hygiene, always encourage children to wash their hands regularly (especially after playing in dirt or sandpits, playing with pets or prior to eating)

  • Prevent children from playing where the soil may be contaminated

  • Keep your pet's environment clean

  • Always dispose of dog faeces in public parks and playgrounds

 

Please call us to discuss an intestinal worming program for your pet.