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Pet Deworming 101: How they get them, the signs, and what to do.

Pet Worms 101: How they get them, the signs, and what to do.

How does my pet get worms?

Dogs and cats become infected with worms several different ways. It can happen by eating worm eggs from contaminated soil or stool, by eating infected rodents or by getting bit by fleas. Hookworms are contracted by when dogs eat microscopic larvae or from larval entry through skin, usually on the feet. Yes, that means even just routine walks can put your pet at risk for worms!

What are the signs and symptoms my pet has worms?

In the early stages worms hide inside your dog’s gut, so it may be difficult to identify early signs. When mature tapeworms start shedding egg-filled segments they can irritate the pet’s bottom as they wriggle out of the body (and may be seen as what look like ‘grains of rice’). In dogs, this causes the classic symptom of tapeworm infection, such as ‘scooting’ or dragging the bottom along the ground, carpet, or rugs. Apart from that other signs may include:

  • visible worms or eggs in the feces’
  • visible worms in fur or around the pet’s rear
  • scratching or rubbing of rear
  • visible worms in vomit
  • bloated stomach or belly
  • weakness, increased appetite, constant hunger and weight loss
  • diarrhea, particularly with blood

What type of worms are out there?

There are six types of worm that generally affect pets:

  • heartworm
  • roundworm
  • hookworm
  • tapeworm
  • whipworm
  • lungworm

What harm can worms do?

Depending on the type of worms your pet has, an infestation can have a range of effects from weight loss, lethargy, general malaise and in some rare cases, even death. If you suspect your pet has worms, seek advice from your vet to have them tested to see what type of worms your pet may have and help you select a dewormer that kills multiple species of worms.

How often should I treat my pet for worms?

It is recommended to treat your pets for worms at least every three months. Depending on your pet’s lifestyle, more deworming may need to be administered. If your concerned, consult with with your vet.

Deworming times and dosing can vary when pets are still in the puppy and kitten stages. If your pet is under 6 months old, it’s recommended to discuss with your veterinarian the best deworming strategy for your fur babies.

How do I keep my pet from getting worms?

All pets will carry worms. When you use a worming product it does not eradicate all worms, it reduces the worm burden, preventing worms from taking over and harming your pet. Regular worming treatment is essential for your pet’s overall health and can help your pet live a longer life! A longer life means more time with your beloved furry friend, who doesn’t want that?

Are there any risks to me?

Certain worms are capable of being transmitted from animals to humans. The dog roundworm is the best known of these (but the cat roundworm can also be transmitted) and human infection may occur if a person swallows the worm eggs, having picked them up from contaminated soil, with small children being at the greatest risk. The larvae of the roundworm do the damage to health, as they make their way through the body from the gut. They can arrive, for example, in the eye, causing permanent damage to sight. Protecting your pets protects you too!

What now?

If you’re not treating your pet, now is the time to schedule a checkup with your veterinarian and discuss the best deworming treatment for your pet.

Need to get deworming treatments?

Jeffers carries a wide variety of trusted brand dewormers for dogs and cats