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Does my pet have worms?

Monday, November 02, 2015

Symptoms of worms in cats and dogs

It can often be difficult to tell if your pet has intestinal worms as during early stages of infection they may show no signs at all. However, if a worm infection is left untreated, you may see symptoms such as:

Loss of appetite
Vomiting
Diarrhoea
Pot belly
Scooting
Dull coat
Excessive licking of bottom

It is important to remember that, even if you don’t see these symptoms, your pet could still have worms. 

What worms affect cats and dogs?

In the UK your pet can become infected by roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and lungworms and, unless you treat your pet regularly, worms are difficult to avoid. 

How does a pet get worms?

Worm eggs are often passed in the faeces of an infected cat or dog. The eggs can then lay dormant in the soil for up to a year, which means you are also at risk of carrying the eggs into your home on your shoes or your pet’s fur. 

Tapeworm can be transmitted by an infected host like fleas; for this reason we strongly recommend eliminating fleas as an important part of worm control. If your cat or dog likes to hunt birds and small mammals, be aware that these can also carry tapeworms.

Can humans catch worms?

Roundworm can pose a risk to humans, in particular to children. Although this does not occur often, in extreme cases it can cause blindness.

How to treat worms in cats and dogs?

To treat intestinal worms, we generally recommend both a monthly treatment of drops on the back of the neck (that will also prevent flea infestations) and a palatable worming tablet to be given at least every 3 months. However, we do base our worming recommendation on your pet’s lifestyle, so the frequency and/or product will vary.

Call your surgery to find out about which products are available and they will be more than happy to help you.

For more information about worms that can affect your dog or cat, visit our Pet Advice page.


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