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Worms – a wriggly problem!
All cats and dogs will get worms at some stage in their lives. Parasitic worms can cause problems to your pets but many can also be transmitted to people too!
How can you tell if you pet has worms?
Most cats and dogs will appear healthy even though they still have
worms, but occasionally we may see symptoms of worms especially in
young puppies and kittens:
• Scooting – dragging their bottom on the floor
• Weight loss/ not gaining weight
• Dull, lifeless coat
• Pot bellied appearance
• Change in appetite
White worms that look like a piece of string or spaghetti.
Present in puppies from 2 weeks old and kittens from 6 weeks old as they
can become infected from their mother in the uterus and via their milk.
In young animals they can cause lethargy, bloating, diarrhoea and weight loss.
These worms can be transmitted to humans and although a rare ocurrence,
in children they can cause permanent eye damage leading to blindness,
so for this reason alone all pets should be routinely treated for roundworms
These worms attach themselves to the small bowel and can grow up to 5 meters long! They look like flat ribbon shaped pieces or pale segments the size of a grain of rice which can often be seen in your pet’s fur or around the anus. Often pets become infected by swallowing fleas when grooming which carry the tapeworm larvae. Dogs and cats that hunt can also be infected from their prey. Dogs that holiday in Wales and Scotland can also be at risk of the sheep tapeworm, which can also be transmitted to humans.
What types of worms do dogs and cats get in the UK?
Hookworms are blood sucking parasites that live in the small intestines.
More commonly seen in kenneled dogs, leading to diarrhoea and even anaemia.
Hookworm larvae can directly penetrate your pet’s feet leading to infection.
Hookworms can cause human skin disease.
Whipworms are blood sucking parasites that live in the large intestines. They can cause diarrhoea and anaemia similar to hookworms. More common in kenneled dogs. Faeces of infected dogs will often be mucous covered.
Infection occurs when dogs eat infected snails or slugs or possibly lick the mucus trails. Foxes are the main host. Does your garden attract urban foxes? The associated symptoms in dogs are coughing and respiratory problems.
Pets that go on Holiday outside the UK
As well as the mentioned above, travelling pets may come into contact with worms only found abroad:
Heartworm: Heartworm gets its name as the adult worms will live in you dogs heart. Spread by infected mosquitoes, causing coughing, and appetite loss with advances stages being fatal. These worms are only found in Southern Europe, USA, and Australia.
Tapeworm – Echinococcus multilocularis: Does not occur in the UK. This worm can infect your pet but can also cause every serious liver disease in humans.
Treatment and Prevention:
Cats and dogs can look healthy on the outside, even when they have worms on the inside so prevention/treatment is important even if you do not think you pet has worms. Some worms can pass from your animals during grooming, stroking and from the environment, in particular children are very susceptible.
Treatment for worms depends on your pet’s lifestyle but as a minimum we recommend worming at least 4 times per year. For more detail follow the table below:
Other ways to prevent worms:
• Treat regularly for fleas to prevent tapeworms
• Disinfect you pets food and water bowls regularly
• Make sure all the family wash there hands before eating to prevent self infection
• Clean up you animals faeces
For more advice on worming control and prevention please contact us on Tel: 01928 733228