Out of sight and out of mind… Don’t let them worm their way in.
Unlike fleas that are usually seen on your pet, intestinal worms are not easily seen and are something you might not think about much.
It might surprise you to learn that your pet doesn’t have to look sick to be carrying and passing on worm infections. Some worm species can produce up to 30,000 eggs each day which contaminate your pet’s surroundings.
In New Zealand where humans, especially children, share such a special relationship with our four-legged friends, there is a risk of zoonotic disease (the transfer of infection from animal to human). The good news is you can take preventative action by worming your pets regularly. Simple measures such as practicing good personal hygiene, treating for intestinal parasites in your pet and making potentially contaminated areas off limits to children will help protect your family.
|We offer a VIP worming program, whereby worm tablets are posted out to you every three months, giving you peace of mind. If you are interested in registering for this service, please talk to our reception team.|
What kind of worms can infect your pet?
Once they've found their way into the gut, parasitic worms will survive by feeding on the contents of your pet's gut or sucking on your pet's blood. Left untreated, they can be a serious health risk. That's why it's so important to treat your pet at least every three months.
Roundworm: a real pain in the tummy
Roundworms are picked up from your pet’s environment (soil and droppings). They are common in young pets as infections can be passed from mother to puppy or kitten. Roundworms live in the intestine where they will eat their fair share of your pet’s meals. Roundworms can also infect humans, especially children, and potentially cause blindness. Signs of infection in pets include vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing or a bloated stomach. Severe infections can cause death. Roundworms are exceptionally good survivors, and their eggs are able to live outside the animal for several years.
Hookworm: blood meals on tap
Hookworms can cause serious illness to pets and humans. Juvenile worms emerge from infected faeces and infect pets or humans after penetrating through the skin or by being swallowed. Once in the intestines, the worms feed on blood. Heavy infections can cause severe blood loss and even death – another good reason to keep your backyard free of droppings.
Whipworm: an intestinal assassin
Whipworms are blood feeding worms that live in the dog’s intestine. They cause pain, diarrhoea and weight loss. They can survive for up to a year, laying over 2,000 eggs each day. The eggs are passed in the droppings and can survive in soil and the pet’s surroundings for up to 5 years.
Lungworm: something to cough about
Cats can become infected with lungworm after eating infected mice, rats or birds. They can develop a cough, racing heart and weight loss, or may show little or no signs at all. However, infections can leave permanent scarring in the lung.
Common Flea Tapeworm: a reason to itch
These tapeworms come from infected fleas that are ingested by your pet. While not a major health risk, they develop in their intestine into large worms which cause an itchy bottom when segments are passed in the droppings. You may see your pet scooting along the ground. Flea control is an essential component of protecting your pet and family against this parasite.
Taenia species: when food bites back
There are several other species of tapeworms that can infect our pets. Dogs can pick up the Sheep Measle Tapeworm by eating raw sheep or goat meat. These worms can shed 250,000 eggs each day and survive on pasture for 6 months. If sheep or goats ingest the eggs, cysts develop in their tissues, resulting in the condemnation of the meat during processing. There are additional species of tapeworm that cats and dogs can pick up from rabbits or rodents during hunting.
Where is my pet exposed to worms?
The great outdoors. It's where your pet can run like the wind, explore and discover… and pick up worms… eww! In the early stages of a worm infection, your pet may show few, if any, noticeable signs of infection.
Worms are divided basically into roundworms and tapeworms.