Keeping pets worm free

Intestinal worms are quite horrifying, especially if you have seen these alien monster looking parasites under a microscope. Worms can make your pets and your family sick. Luckily prevention of worms is painless and easy.

There are a few common types of worms that vets treat for:

  1. Roundworm – can affect puppies and kittens just about from birth. If your pet is from a breeder make sure you know the deworming history of the parents of the animal too. Contaminated soil or poop is responsible for spreading roundworm. Roundworm eggs and larvae can survive a long time in the faeces of dogs or cats. Licking and playing can spread the eggs around. Smaller animals and children are especially vulnerable because they play in the dirt. Unless the pet has a severe infection there are no major symptoms to look out for, so it is safer to prevent an infection.
  2. Hookworm – Dogs and cats face severe effects from hookworm, the younger your pet the more severe the effects. These parasites cause bleeding in the intestinal tract which can lead to internal bleeding and blood loss, diarrhoea and weight loss. If you suspect that your dog or cat could have hookworm, make an urgent appointment with your vet. Walking barefoot through contaminated soil or ingesting the larvae are common ways to contract hookworm.
  3. Whipworm – contamination happens when your pet, or you, consume infected soil. Most animals will show no symptoms of whipworm, on occasion there will be some rough fur or weight loss. Severe infections cause diarrhoea which may contain blood, poor overall condition and your pet will lose weight. Untreated the parasite will continue to cause damage to your pet’s health. People can get whipworms from contaminated soil or water.
  4. Tapeworms – these flat worms resemble a measuring tape, which is where the name comes from. Fleas carry the larvae of the tapeworm and pets can accidentally ingest one of the infected fleas. It is important that you keep your pets flea free. There are no major symptoms unless the infection is really severe. Then you will notice weight loss and anaemia. Tapeworm segments contain eggs, the segments are excreted through faeces. The passing of the segments may cause a bit of irritation which your pet will alleviate by scooting their bottom on the floor.

Intestinal Worms in New Zealand

We are fortunate that parasitic worms are very rare here. Intestinal worms are still evident in highly populated areas, but are easily managed. At Crofton Down Veterinary Clinic we have a variety of treatments for worms, preventative and reactive. Our vet will give you the right product and dosage for your pet’s needs. Remember it is a lot easier to prevent a parasite infection than to try and cure one.

Please, deworm puppies and kittens every fortnight for the first 12 weeks. Monthly treatments are needed between 12 weeks and 6 months of age. After the 6-month period, speak to the vet about the course that would suit you and your pet best. When adopting a fur baby try and get a history on deworming and vaccination so you and the vet can make educated decisions about the schedule for deworming.

Don’t forget that keeping your pet free of worms and other parasites makes it more difficult for your family to pick up any of these freeloaders.

While you are at the veterinary clinic for deworming, ask your vet about microchipping.