- Worms are a common problem
- Worms can cause a dull lifeless coat, swelling of the stomach, loss of weight, pneumonia and diarrhoea. In addition, one of the most common roundworms, Toxocara canis, can be transmitted to children, where it can cause potentially permanent eye damage
- For this reason, if for no other, we all have a responsibility to keep our animals free from worms, and to minimise the spread of infection in the environment
- However, pets with worms can look completely healthy on the outside and there may be no way of you knowing. Symptoms may not appear until infection is severe and by then it may be too late
- Fortunately, there is an effective way of controlling all these worm species.
Responsible Pet Ownership
- Regular worming. Remember a wormer kills worms present on the day it is given but cannot prevent reinfestation, even the day after it is administered. Therefore much more frequent worming is required in dogs who scavenge or cats who hunt.
- Effective flea control
- If your dog defaecates in a public area always collect the faeces and dispose of it hygienically at home or in a designated poo bin.
- Do not feed raw offal or unsterilised pet food.
- Some of the worms we need to think about include:
- Roundworm (Toxocara catis / canis)
- Tapeworm (Echinococcus spp, Taenia spp & Dipylidium)
- Hookworm (Ancylostoma spp)
- Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis – dogs only)
- Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis – dogs only)
- Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum (dogs); Aleurostrongylus (cats))
They appear as long white strips rather like pieces of spaghetti and can grow to around 180 millimetres in length. They can be transmitted in several ways:
- Transfer of worm larvae (immature worms) in the womb to unborn puppies / kittens, meaning that they are already infected at birth.
- Transfer of worm larvae to young as they feed on the mother's milk
- A nursing bitch / queen may be re-infected while cleaning her young.
- An adult pet may eat birds, earth worms or mice which could be harbouring the round worm larvae.
These are more common in the adult and are seen in the faeces or around the anus - similar in appearance to a grain of rice. They are usually contracted by your pet eating other animal’s faeces or dead animals such as rabbits. Unlike roundworms, they cannot be passed directly from one pet to another, but have to develop in another animal first (the so-called "intermediate host"). The flea is a common intermediate host meaning that if your pet has fleas there is a high chance it will also have tapeworms.
- Puppies and kittens should be wormed once every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age until they are 12 weeks old (3 months) for round worm. During this period we recommend Panacur, which is available as a paste, granules or liquid.
- From the age of 3 months worming should be once monthly until they reach 6 months of age.
- From the age of 6 months the majority of adults should be wormed once every 3 months but some may require more frequent dosing, especially if they are regularly outdoors &/or scavenging/hunting.
- For adults we recommend one from a variety of products depending on what worms your pet is most at risk of catching, so please discuss this with one of our vets.. The number of tablets depends on size, but a larger range of weights can be covered with one tablet, which proves more cost-effective.
The wormers available from your veterinary surgeon are modern drugs that have been shown to be safe & effective. Wormers can be purchased elsewhere but may only cover a limited range of worms or have reduced efficacy and therefore do not give the best protection for your pet.