INTESTINAL WORM PREVENTION
Intestinal worms are nasty parasites that live out their lives in the digestive tract of a host (cat, dogs, etc). They can not only rob your pet of necessary nutrients, but can cause other damage and health concerns.
Most animals will become infected with internal parasites at some point in their life. They can be littered throughout your pet’s environment,and most infections occur due to the ingestion of the eggs, although they can be transferred from mothers to offspring via the placenta or milk.
There are four main types of intestinal worms:
Roundworms: A long, tubular, spaghetti shaped worm that can be seen with the naked eye. Their colour varies from white to a yellowish colour as the worm progresses through its life. Roundworms live in the animal’s intestines and consume partially digested food. They do cause irritation to the host and can result in such symptoms as vomiting, diarrhoea, ‘potbellies’, poor coat as well as slow growth, and even intestinal blockage in puppies.
Tapeworms: Flat, long and segmented, these are the most commonly known intestinal worms amongst the general public. They can be seen by the naked eye and are usually noticed by the white segments that are distributed in the animal’s faecal matter. The can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss as well as a severe itching around the anus.
Whipworms: Whip like in shape, these particular worms are long and thin, and unable to be identified by the naked eye. They live within the animal’s colon, attaching themselves to the wall of the intestines and feeding on tissue secretions. A normal occurrence from this feeding is that blood can seep from where the worm has burrowed into the intestines lining. When an animal has an infestation of whipworms, they can experience symptoms such as anaemia, weight loss, diarrhoea, lethargy and blood or mucus apparent on their stools.
Hookworm: Another horrible little parasite, hookworms have a head shaped like a hook which is used to attach to the wall of the animal’s intestines. There it feasts on the host’s blood. An infected dog may experience lethargy, weight loss, diarrhoea, bloody stools, and anaemia. Hookworms cannot be viewed by the naked eye and require a vet to diagnose them.
It is possible for humans to become infected with worms, transmitted from their pets.
Infants and small children are most susceptible as they have immature immune systems, and often have poor hygiene compared to adults. However, with the proper care, knowledge and practices in place, the probability of your family contracting parasitic worms from your pet is highly unlikely. There are many different forms of worming medications available for use. These can include tablets, palatable chews and topical solutions. With the wide range of products available, there will always be a worming medication that will suit your lifestyle.
The following suggestions can further help prevent intestinal worming infections:
Worming your pet regularly with the correct dose of worming medication for the weight of your animal.
Keep children away from areas that may be contaminated with pet faeces.
Prompt collection and disposal of pet faeces, especially in areas where children play in order to remove worm eggs from the environment before they can become a problem.
Chancellor Park Veterinary Surgery recommends the following worming regime for your pets:
Puppies should be wormed from 2 weeks of age, every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then every month until 6 months of age.
Dogs should be wormed once every 3 months from 6 months of age.
Kittens should be wormed at 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age.
Cats should be wormed every 3 months from 12 weeks of age.
Please contact us for any further worming information, or should you require any assistance.