Intestinal worms

Intestinal worming for your pet should never be overlooked!

There are 4 commonly known types of intestinal worms, some of which can be transmitted to humans and can pose significant health risks.

If left untreated these worms can be fatal, especially to younger animals. Ensuring your pet is regularly wormed with a preventative is the best way to protect your pet and your family against these parasites.

How does my pet get worms?

Intestinal worms can be spread in the following ways:

-Drinking contaminated water

-Contact with other infected animals

-Contact with infected animal faeces

-Transmitted via mothers milk when nursing

-Eating meat that is carrying a parasite (a bird or rodent for example)

-Swallowing a flea that is carrying a parasite

Types of intestinal worms

Roundworm
Roundworm (also known as ascarids) is most commonly transmitted through feaces and in pregnancy or when nursing. These worms will live and feed off the food inside your pet’s intestines. They are usually white or light brown and long string like worms about an inch long. They look a bit like spaghetti. You may notice them passed in your pet’s feaces or vomit. This worm is the most commonly transmitted to humans and often symptoms are even more serious than that of pets.

Hookworm
Hookworms (Ancylostoma and Uncinaria) can be transmitted through their mother to puppies or adult dogs can be affected through their skin during grooming. These worms living mainly in the small intestines these worms have sharp hook like teeth and attach themselves to the wall of your pet’s intestines and suck blood. These worms will often cause anaemia due to blood loss, this can sometimes be fatal esp in young puppies and kittens. Humans can also become infected with hookworm, usually through unwashed vegetables or by walking barefoot through sand and soil.

Whipworm
Whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) is can be transmitted through grooming or can be picked up from contaminated soil. They live in the area where the small and large intestines meet. Here they will suck the blood of their host. Unless they are present in high numbers they will generally not cause serious blood loss or symptoms.

Tapeworm
Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum) are flat white worms that are made up of segments, each of these segments is about the size of a grain of rice. Tapeworms will use a hook like mechanism to attach to the walls of the intestines and will then feed and grow on the host. Tapeworms are spread by fleas and are most commonly ingested when a host swallows a flea during grooming that is carrying the larval stages of the worm. Humans can also get tapeworm, however they must swallow an infected flea.

Signs and symptoms of intestinal worms

  • Pot belly appearance
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased appetite
  • Blood and or mucus in feaces
  • Dragging or “scooting” their bottom on the ground
  • Anaemia
  • Lack of growth
  • Dull hair appearance
  • Loss of body condition

Thankfully there is prevention available to ensure protection for you and your pet.

At WellPet Vets we have a number of preventative options available to ensure adequate protection for your pet. From top spots to tablets we can help you choose the best options to fit within our vets recommended worming protocol.

Wellpet Vets worming protection protocol:

2-12 weeks of age : Canex or similar puppy suspension or Milbemax/Fenpral or Drontal intestinal wormer fortnightly until 12 weeks.

12 weeks of age: Milbemax/Fenpral or Drontal intestinal wormer monthly until 6 months of age (covers all intestinal worms and giardia).

25 weeks of age onwards: Milbemax/Fenpral or Drontal intestional wormer every 3 months (quarterly) for life.

When is the last time you wormed your pet?

If you think your pet may have worms or if you would like more information on the best protection for your family and your pet, please contact our friendly team.

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