Tell Tail Stories: Worm Worries

The importance of deworming your pets

Deworming your pet is an important part of its regular health regime. Even if pet-owners take good care of their pets, one cannot avoid worms because our pets are at constant risk of a worm infestation. Regular deworming of your pet is also an essential part of its general health, you may see no signs of worm infestation but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there.

How does my pet get infected?

The adult worms shed eggs through the feces of the infected pet. Other dogs and cats become infected by licking or sniffing the infected feces. Roundworm eggs can have ‘paratenic’ hosts such as earthworms, cockroaches and birds. If your pet ingests one of these it will become infected.

An important fact is that most puppies and kittens are born with worms, which is why they should be dewormed at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age, and then every three months for life with an all-wormer. Pregnant and nursing mothers should also be treated during mating, before the birth of their litters, and every three months.

The four most common types of parasites that affect our domestic pets are:

  • Roundworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Hookworms
  • Whipworms

Worm Warning Signs

Weakness and listlessness, diarrhea or vomiting, weight loss despite a good appetite, abnormally swollen stomach. Any of these listed signs are reason to visit your vet and most likely get the course of parasite treatment.

Some of the listed worms like tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms can be passed from our pets to humans. Fortunately, in most cases, infection with zoonotic intestinal parasites can be avoided by taking simple precautions like practicing good hygiene.

If you aren’t sure whether your pet is protected from parasites, ask your vet for advice next time you visit your vet hospital. If you are a little late with your intestinal dewormer, it is safe to give anytime and you might even see some worms in your pet’s droppings—that just tells you the deworming is working!

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