These parasites are worms that live in the intestines of puppies, kittens, dogs and cats and include roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and hook worms. There are many ways your pet can pick these up.
Some worms are passed to puppies and kittens from their mother and so all puppies and kittens should be wormed regularly. Pets can also pick up intestinal worms by eating infected wild animals (rodents), fleas or from eggs shed by other pets.
Puppies and kittens suffering from intestinal worms may show symptoms including a rough hair coat, weight loss, low energy levels or a distended stomach. The severity of symptoms will depend on overall pet health and the amount of infection.
Left untreated, intestinal worms lay eggs that are shed into the environment in your pet’s stool. These eggs are a potential health risk for you and your family. Toxacara canis (round worm) is zoonotic (affects people) and can cause an eye infection in children under 7 years of age that can lead to blindness in the affected eye. About 10 children per year are affected with this disease in Australia per year.
Eggs need to be in the environment for 2 weeks to be infectious. Regular cleaning of the yard, the litter box and regular worming will decrease the risk to children to almost zero.
Tape worms are long flat worms which are sometimes seen whole in your pets faeces or more commonly as little ‘grains of rice’ around their bottoms. These are the tapeworm segments.
Round worms look like spaghetti and can be seen in faeces or vomit.
Not all pets with worm infestations show obvious signs or pass worms in their faeces so all pets should be wormed regularly.
We recommend worming kittens monthly until 6 months of age then 3 monthly for life.
Please refer to the section on anti parasitic agents for information on which wormer would be best for your pet.