Swan Veterinary Hospital

PH: (08) 9274 1845

14 Runyon Road, Midvale

Intestinal Worms


There are two broad categories of worms that may affect our pet dogs and cats: intestinal worms and heartworm.
For more information specifically on heartworm, please see the tab under 'Healthcare Services'.

 

Intestinal Worms

Worming is one of the first health care issues pet owners need to address as puppies and kittens are the most susceptible. 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, 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 burden of worms, they may struggle to maintain a good body condition, and can lose weight rapidly. In some cases, symptoms of intestinal worms include vomiting, diarrhoea and even anaemia (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 to ensure a strategy 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 who 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

 

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