Worms and your Pet

Protecting your pet from worms

Protecting your pet from Worms

It can be alarming to discover that your cat has worms but it should not come as a surprise. All pets are affected at some stage in their life and many will be re-infected unless they are given regular, routine worming treatment. Except in rare cases, worms are unlikely to cause serious harm. Getting rid of worms is relatively simple and inexpensive so regular treatment is strongly recommended, particularly as some types of worm can be passed on to humans.

 

You can protect your pet year-round with our Complete Wellness Plan, which includes free flea and worming treatments throughout the year and a free annual comprehensive health check.

What types of worms do dogs and cats get?

Roundworm, Tapeworm, Lungworm, Whipworm and Hookworm. All of these worms can affect your pet and are a potential hazard to your family’s health. Statistics show that 60% of all cats in the UK have worms at any one time. An emerging and potentially serious threat is a lungworm called Angiostrongylus. The risk varies significantly in different parts of the country.

What are the symptoms of worms in cats and dogs?

In some cases, your pet will show no symptoms but may be passing roundworm eggs when passing faeces. Infected faeces pose a risk to humans, especially children and on rare occasions, this can have serious consequences such as causing blindness. The presence of worms may weaken your pets’ immune system making it more susceptible to infections.

Cats – Mild infestations provide little or no symptoms in a healthy cat; a more severe infestation can cause vomiting, with diarrhoea or constipation, leading to loss of weight.

Dogs – Light infestations may go unnoticed in a healthy dog. With a heavy infestation, however, your dog may suffer vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, leading to loss of weight and condition. The migrating larvae of some worms can even cause lung damage, with consequent breathing problems.

Lungworm can cause potentially fatal bleeding issues and severe respiratory signs.

Routes of infection:

  1. Ingestion of worm eggs from the soil.
  2. Ingestion of worm larvae developing in a host animal, e.g. mouse, bird, rabbit, etc.
  3. Ingestion of infected fleas.
  4. Primary infection via infected mother’s milk.
  5. Angiostrongylus is spread when dogs eat slugs or snails or potentially even drink from water where they have been, e.g. plant trays and pots.

How often should I worm my cat or dog?

Kittens and puppies

 

Worming is recommended at 2, 5 and 8 weeks of age and monthly thereafter until your kitten is 6 months old. The vet or nurse will be able to advise you on the best product to use.

 

Adult cats and dogs

 

Adult cats/dogs should be wormed every 3 months (4 times yearly), cats who are hunters should be wormed more frequently. This is especially important in families with young children to reduce the risk of health problems. Infection with Toxocara canis (the dog roundworm) in children can be very serious, in rare cases even causing blindness.

Pregnant cats (queens)

These should be wormed around the time of giving birth to prevent the transfer of worms via milk. There is no trans-placental transmission in cats, unlike dogs.

Pregnant dogs (bitches)

These should be wormed daily from day 40 of pregnancy until 2 days after whelping to prevent transfer via the placenta or via milk.

What treatments are available for worms?

1) Granules (Roundworm and some Tapeworm) – Tasteless granules which can be mixed in with your cat’s or dog’s food.

2) Tablets (Roundworm and Tapeworm) – To mix with your cat food/dog food or given directly by mouth. Please ask a veterinary nurse to do this free of charge if you find giving tablets difficult.

3) Spot on (Roundworm and Tapeworm) – Some preparations also treat hookworm and whipworm. Some of the flea preparations used on the back of the neck also treat roundworm. There is also a spot on preparation that has been developed especially to treat tapeworm in difficult cats.

We require your pet’s weight to calculate an accurate dosage of wormer.

Remember worm treatments do not have a preventative action – they only eliminate the worms present at the time of treatment. Regular dosing is necessary to keep your pet healthy, worm free and prevent them from contaminating the environment with eggs.

Recommended products for treating worms

The main wormer we use is Milbemax. Please always feel free to discuss your pet’s specific requirements. For example, if you are concerned about the lungworm Angiostrongylus, you may want to consider Advocate which is a monthly spot-on product for fleas and other worms, including roundworm and lungworm, but not tapeworm.

Please ask any of our team for advice on worm and flea prevention and products best suited to your situation.

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