Worms can have a serious affect on your pet's health, so intestinal worming should never be overlooked.
Cats and dogs can get a variety of intestinal parasites. The most common worms are:
- Roundworms resembling spaghetti, adult worms are three to four inches long
- Hookworms are much smaller than roundworms — less than an inch long
- Tapeworms are segmented worms and range from 4-28 inches in length
- Whipworm (dogs only) look like a piece of thread
Symptoms depends on the type of intestinal worm.
The most common signs include: scooting bottom along the ground; diarrhea; bloody stools; constipation; vomiting; visible worms in stool or near anus; pot-bellied appearance of abdomen; weight loss; and poor growth in puppies and kittens.
Infection can occur from eating infected stools from another cat or dog, drinking contaminated water, ingesting fleas or eating animals such as mice. Kittens and puppies may also get worms through mother's milk.
Avoid exposure to rodents and other animal stools. Make sure your home, yard and pets are flea-free.
Practice good hygiene; clean stools from yard and litter trays daily. Clean food and water bowls regularly.
Speak with your vet team for recommendations on appropriate internal parasite treatment or prevention.
There's no effective vaccine for intestinal worms, so it comes down to tablets or chewable wormers at least every three months.
There are many worm treatments or preventatives, with some working better than others. Be sure to chat with your local expert about what's best for your pet.