Worms

Worming you pet should be regarded as a vital part of keeping your pet happy and healthy, just as much as vaccination or feeding the correct diet.

We will give you all the help and advice you need. You can ask the vet during your consultation, arrange a FREE nurse clinic, or call for advice on 01722 412211.

Roundworms

Toxocara – Found in adult dogs and cats and puppies and kittens. It can be transmitted in several ways:

  • Larvae in pregnant bitches transfer via the placenta to puppies before they are born
  • From the bitch or queen via the milk to sucking puppies and kittens after birth. A heavily infested bitch can shed 15 million eggs per day into the environment
  • Ingestion of intermediate hosts (especially in cats) eg mice, earthworms, birds, slugs
  • Snuffling or ingestion of contaminated soil and grass

If a person (commonly a young child) ingests these eggs or larvae they can contract human toxocariasis. This can cause blindness, asthma and poor appetite. This is a very serious disease. The eggs can survive in soil for up to 2 years. This is also why it is important to pick up after your dog!

Death in young cats and puppies can occur if infestation is significant enough to develop intestinal obstruction but usually thriftiness with anaemia and intermittent diarrhoea are the presenting signs.

Whipworm – Found in the large intestine of dogs. Spread through snuffling and ingestion of contaminated soil and grass. Can cause marked bloody diarrhoea.

Hookworm – Rare in Great Britain in dogs, absent in cats. Usually found in dogs brought in from abroad. Causes anaemia.

Lungworm – Endemic in many parts of England, especially the South and South West, due to global warming. This worm infects the arteries around the heart and the heart itself. It is a very serious disease and can potentially kill dogs. The fox is the reservoir for domestic dogs. Dogs acquire the infection from ingestion of worm larvae present in slugs and snails that have fed on faeces of infected foxes or other dogs. These larvae migrate from the intestine of the dog to the blood vessels in and around the heart. The mature worms lay eggs that are coughed up and swallowed to pass out in the faeces.

Symptoms include gradual onset of heart or lung disease, a chronic cough, anaemia, poor blood clotting and weight loss. Sudden death due to blood loss during routine surgery has been known.

A different species of lungworm does occur in cats but does not lead to the serious clinical illness as in dogs.

Tapeworms

Dipylidium – the flea tapeworm. When dogs and cats have adult fleas on their coat and skin, they are often swallowed during the normal grooming process or when nibbling due to the itchiness. The tapeworm segments can be seen stuck at the base of the tail and these shed eggs onto the coat which in turn are ingested by the flea larvae.

Taenia – Cats from eating earthworms,mice, rats and other rodents and birds

  • Dogs from eating infected offal and carcasses of wild animals – can cause serious disease in man due to formation of brain or liver cysts

Echinococcus – Dogs from eating infected offal. A very serious disease of any mammal and man if eggs ingested via water, salads, vegetables or licking of fingers.

Treatments

Because of the concerns regarding your pet’s health and the risk to yourselves and family the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and our practice recommends MONTHLY WORMING (especially if you have children) where the risk is greater than normal.

  • Drontal Plus tablets (dogs) and Drontal Cat tablets treat all roundworms and all tapeworms
  • Milbemax tablets (dogs and cats) treats all roundworms and tapeworms but not lungworm unless given weekly for 4 weeks and then this only gives “a reduction in level of activity”.
  • Stronghold spot-on – dogs and cats – treats roundworms only
  • Advocate spot-on – dogs and cats – ONLY licensed product against lungworm – treats all roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and lungworm.
  • Panacur paste or granules – treats all roundworms, tapeworms and lungworm