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511 Cameron Road, Tauranga, (Between 10th &11th Ave)

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SmartVets Animal Hospital

CANINE AND FELINE WORMING

Canine worming
Puppies and dogs are commonly affected by a number of parasitic worms that lead to ill-health in these animals. In dogs, symptoms of worm infestation generally include loss of appetite, weight loss, dull coat, vomiting and diarrhoea, anaemia, pot belly appearance, coughing or even death in severe cases.  It is important to remember not every dog infected with parasitic worms exhibit clinical signs. Symptoms depend on the type and severity of infection. Hence, if you are concerned for the welfare of your pet it is important to contact your pet vet for testing parasitic infections. Common parasitic worms in dogs are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. Remember these worms are also zoonotic parasites, which means they have potential of being passed on to humans.

Roundworms: Roundworms or ascarids are the most common parasitic worms of the digestive tract in dogs. Although it can infect dogs of all ages, puppies are more vulnerable as they can acquire the infestation from their mother during pregnancy.  Additionally, infestation can also occur through ingestion of eggs in faeces of infected animals or tissues of infected intermediate hosts (e.g. rodents).

Round worms are large worms measuring several inches and are greyish white or light brown in colour.  Adult round worm live in the affected dog’s intestine. Sometimes you may notice your dog passing them in faeces or vomit. Since they are tightly coiled when passed like that, they appear like spaghetti. In small numbers roundworms are not harmful to dogs, but severe infection may cause life-threatening problems in puppies.

Tapeworms: Tapeworms are intestinal parasites too. Unlike roundworms they have a flat ribbon-like appearance and are made of tiny white segments. As these worms grow, some of these segments fall off and can be observed in the dog’s faeces. Out of various kinds of tapeworms, the most common is the flea tapeworm.  If a dog swallows an infected flea, most likely when grooming itself, the tapeworm’s larvae grow into adult worms inside the dog’s gut.  Infestation of tapeworms also may result due to scavenging. Infected dogs may be observed biting or licking the anus, or dragging their hind quarters across the floor in response to the itching.

Hookworms: Similar to roundworms and tapeworms, hookworms live in the intestine of the infected dog. They feed on the blood of the host by sucking from the lining of the intestine which makes them relatively more dangerous as loss of blood could lead to severe anaemia and even death in the infected dogs.  While puppies can acquire hookworms through their mother’s milk, other modes leading to the condition include ingestion of infective larvae from a contaminated environment or water.  Finally hookworm larvae can also penetrate skin leading to infection.  Hookworms cannot be seen with the naked eyes; therefore diagnosis involves microscopic examination of the dog’s stool for presence of the worm’s eggs.

Whipworms: Whipworm is another common intestinal parasite of the dog. It gets its name due to a characteristic whip shape. Dogs become infected by ingestion of eggs from soil or contaminated environment. Like hookworms, whipworms are also blood sucking parasites. Whipworms can affect dogs of all ages and not all infected animals show symptoms.

Treatment measures

Puppies between 2-12 weeks should be treated fortnightly for both roundworms and hookworms.
Dogs above 3 months of age should be treated regularly every 2-6 months (preferably 3 months) by a broad spectrum wormer for roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms.

Preventive measures

  • Routine faecal examination and deworming your dog regularly as recommended by your vet.
  • Keeping yard clean and preventing pets’ contact with faeces and fluids. Supervising what they eat or contact with other animals when they are outdoor.
  • Avoid feeding undercooked or raw meat to pets.
  • Flea treatment.



Feline worming
Kittens and cats are commonly affected by a number of parasitic worms that lead to ill-health in these animals. In cats symptoms of worm infestation in generally include loss of appetite, weight loss, dull coat, vomiting and diarrhoea, anaemia, pot belly appearance, coughing or even death in severe cases.  It is important to remember not every cat infected with parasitic worms exhibit clinical signs. Symptoms depend on the type and severity of infection. Hence, if you are concerned for the welfare of your pet it is important to contact your pet vet for testing parasitic infections. Common parasitic worms in cats are roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms. Remember these worms are also zoonotic parasites, which means they have potential of being passed on to humans.

Roundworms: Roundworms or ascarids are the most common intestinal parasites of cats. It can infect cats of all ages. Adult cats and kittens both become infected by ingestion of eggs that contain infective immature worms called larvae. Such eggs could come from faeces of infected animals or tissues of infected intermediate hosts (e.g. rodents, earthworm, birds and cockroaches). Furthermore in kittens, milk-borne route of infection is very common. 

Round worms are large worms measuring several inches in length and are greyish white or light brown in colour.  Adult round worm live in the affected cat’s intestine. Sometimes you may notice your cat passing them in faeces or vomit. Since they are tightly coiled when passed like that, they appear like spaghetti.  In small numbers roundworms are not harmful to cats, but severe infection may cause life-threatening problems in older cats and kittens.

Tapeworms: Tapeworms are intestinal parasites too. Unlike roundworms they have a flat ribbon-like appearance and are made of tiny white segments. As these worms grow, some of these segments fall off and can be observed in the cat’s faeces. Out of various kinds of tapeworms, the most common is the flea tapeworm.  If a cat swallows an infected flea, most likely when grooming itself, the tapeworm’s larvae grow into adult worms inside the cat’s gut.  Infestation of tapeworms also may result due to scavenging. Infected cats may be observed biting or licking the anus, or dragging their hind quarters across the floor in response to the itching.

Hookworms: Similar to roundworms and tapeworms, hookworms live in the intestine of the infected cat. They feed on the blood of the host by sucking from the lining of the intestine which makes them relatively more dangerous as loss of blood could lead to severe anaemia and even death in the infected cats.  While kittens can acquire hookworms through their mother’s milk, other modes leading to the condition include ingestion of infective larvae from a contaminated environment or water. Finally, hookworm larvae can also penetrate skin leading to infection.  Hookworms cannot be seen with the naked eyes; therefore diagnosis involves microscopic examination of the cat’s stool for presence of the worm’s eggs.

Whipworms: Whipworm is another common intestinal parasite of the cat. It gets its name due to a characteristic whip shape. Cats become infected by ingestion of eggs from soil or contaminated environment. Like hookworms, whipworms are also blood sucking parasites. Whipworms can affect cats of all ages and not all infected animals show symptoms.

Treatment measures
Kittens between 2-12 weeks should be treated fortnightly for both roundworms and hookworms.

  • Cats above 3 months of age should be treated regularly every 3-6 months by a broad spectrum wormer depending upon cat’s exposure. An outdoor cat for instance needs more worming than indoor cat.


Preventive measures

  • Routine faecal examination and deworming your cat regularly as recommended by your vet.
  • Keeping yard clean and preventing pets’ contact with faeces and fluids. Supervising what they eat or contact with other animals when they are outdoor.
  • Avoid feeding undercooked or raw meat to pets.
  • Flea treatment.