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To protect the health of your pet and your family it is essential that all pets are treated for worms on a regular basis using an effective broad-spectrum de-worming agent. Left untreated, worms can cause a variety of medical problems.
Problems caused by worms:
- Diarrhoea due to excessive numbers causing intestinal damage.
- Intestinal obstruction due to large numbers of worms living within the gut.
- Stunted growth due to worms feeding on intestinal contents, making this food unavailable to the infant.
- Weight loss due to competition by large numbers of intestinal worms for food that would normally be digested by the dog or cat.
- Public health risks - People, especially children, can be infected by the larvae of internal parasites of dogs and cats causing eye problems, skin problems and organ disease. Fortunately, with good hygiene and de-worming products these problems are now infrequent.
How are worms spread?
- There are several types of worms that can infect dogs and cats. Worms are spread from an infected dog or cat. The infected animal is called a host. The host became infected by one of several mechanisms. The mechanism and route of infection varies depending on the worm family. Routes of infection include:
- Across the placenta from the mother to the unborn infant (roundworms).
- Across the mammary gland in the milk suckled from the mother (roundworms).
- By eating a larval worm contained in a type of egg. This egg has been passed from the gut of an infected host when it goes to the toilet (roundworms).
- By eating an intermediate host. Fleas are an intermediate host for tapeworms. The dog or cat eats the flea (containing the larval tapeworm) whilst grooming itself and so becomes infected (tapeworms).
- Across the skin from contaminated soil (hookworms).
Puppies and Kittens
All puppies and kittens are born with worms.
Regardless what de-worming history the mother has, puppies and kittens become infected from
- Worm larvae moving across the placenta whilst the infant is inside its mother.
- Worm larvae moving from the mother to the newborn in its mothers milk.
From then on the dog or cat will continually pick up worms from the environment.
The only way to avoid this is to prevent all contact with other animals and anywhere animals have been. This is neither practical nor desirable. Hence worms are something we need to manage in our dogs and cats throughout their lifetime.
Over time dogs and cats build up some immunity to internal worms and carry smaller burdens. Until this immunity has developed, de-worming treatments must be more frequent to allow the growing puppy or kitten to cope with the worm burden.
We recommend that puppies and kittens receive de-worming treatments every two weeks from weaning until sixteen weeks old. Then they should be wormed every three months for the rest of their life.
Dogs and Cats
Adult animals need less frequent worming as they should have developed reasonable immunity to worms. It is important to realize that this immunity can wane if the animals immune status is compromised or altered as can occur with some diseases and during pregnancy. These animals will need more frequent worming treatments so please to talk to us about the best timing of treatments in these situations.
In general adult dogs and cats should receive a worming treatment every three months.
Regular de-worming treatment of you pets helps keep worm burdens under control.
How to prevent worms
Regular treatments using a broad spectrum worm de-wormer.
Picking up the dog droppings in your back yard several times weekly helps reduce the contamination in your yard. This reduces the chances of re-infection of your pet and reduces the likelihood of children coming into contact with larvae.
Always combine a de-worming program with a flea control program. Fleas carry the larval stage of a tapeworm. Your pet can become infected by the tapeworm during grooming when it accidently ingests an infected flea.
There is a large range of de-worming products available and unfortunately they are not all made equal.
A number of supermarket deworming products do not cover the full range of worms. You must ensure you use an allwormer product.
The veterinary products kill a wider range of worms and do so more effectively.
We recommend Drontal, and Endoguard Allwormers.
Combined flea and worming products (Advocate, Revolution) don't kill tapeworms and a separate tape worm active product (Drontal, Endoguard) will be needed every 6months. Broadline is a combination flea and worming product that is applied to the skin and will kill all classes of worms.
Profender is a broad spectrum topical worming product, applied in the same area as topical flea products, and it is effective against all classes of worms in cats.
There are numerous other products on the market and new ones are being introduced all the time. The purpose of this document is to provide an over-view only and you are welcome to contact the clinic if you have any specific questions.