Intestinal Worms

What are intestinal worms?

Intestinal worms are parasites that live in the intestinal tract of our pets. Some can also cause disease in humans, especially children.

What are the types of Intestinal Worms and what do they cause?

Roundworms are the most common intestinal worms. They can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, can stunt puppy growth and cause a pot-belly appearance. Roundworm larvae can also affect young children and though rare, can cause permanent blindness.

Hookworms cause bloody diarrhoea, anaemia and can be fatal in severe cases. They are dangerous to all dogs, especially puppies. They attach to the intestine wall and cause bleeding wounds on the intestinal lining. Larvae can be swallowed or penetrate wet skin. They can also cause disease in humans.

Whipworm can cause bloody diarrhoea and anaemia. They are smaller than roundworms and are not always detected by owners in faeces.

Tapeworms by themselves cause irritation and itchiness around the anus and are part of the lifecycle of fleas. Species of tapeworms, such as Hydatids, can cause severe disease in humans (sometimes fatal).

Is regular intestinal worm control important?

As part of looking after you & your pets health it is important that we ensure that your pet is not carrying intestinal parasites. Instead of the old recommendation of worming every 3 months, without knowing if it is necessary or effective we now recommend regular faecal tests to check for parasites.

To do this you will need to collect a kit from reception, collect a small amount of fresh faeces and drop it at the clinic. We will send the sample to the lab and ring you with the results and any treatment recommendations.

Good hygiene practices such as washing hands and regular removal of faeces from the environment reduces human exposure, and when combined with regular parasite testing, provides effective household worm control.