We all know that we should worm our pets regularly, but it doesn’t always seem important, especially when our pets appear perfectly fine! However, worms aren’t always obvious and can cause a great deal of damage and general ill health.
So what are the major types of worms we need to be aware of?
Roundworms and tapeworms inhabit your pet’s intestines, interfering with food absorption and may also be a cause of gut inflammation, weight loss and diarrhoea. Roundworms are spaghetti-like worms that are brown to white in colour.
Many pups and kittens are born infected with roundworms because they cross the placenta and are also in the milk. Infected adult dogs show very few signs of roundworms but they can make young pets very poorly. The eggs are also shed in the faeces and are easily picked up on walks. Roundworms can also infect people and have the potential to cause serious health problems, especially in children. Occasionally you might see roundworms in your dog’s vomit or faeces, looking like strings of spaghetti.
Tapeworms can be seen in faeces as white flat segmented worms in dogs and cats. They cause a failure to thrive in young animals, and symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting. Tapeworm eggs may be eaten by intermediate hosts these include fleas and small rodents. This is why cats that catch a lot of mice will commonly be infected by tapeworms. Pets swallow fleas by grooming themselves and become infected in this way.
This parasite is becoming increasingly common in our dog population. Dogs are infected by eating slugs or snails carrying lungworm larvae, or even just eating grass that has slug or snail slime on it. Lungworm are swallowed as tiny larvae which migrate to the right side of the heart where they develop into adult worms. Here they produce eggs which hatch out into larvae which migrate to the lungs causing coughing. The larvae are then coughed up, swallowed and passed out in the faeces. Lungworms can also cause life-threatening clotting problems.
The good news is that we have a range of tasty treats and simple spot-ons that will help in the fight against these pesky parasites! Please ask us for more information!