There are two broad categories of worms that may affect our pet dogs and cats, intestinal worms and heartworms. Please click here for more information about heartworm.
Worming is one of the first health care issues pet owners need to address as puppies and kittens are the most very susceptible. Intestinal worms are parasites that live inside your pet’s intestines that can have cause significant health problems for your pet. These health issues can range from being generally unwell to severe anemia and someetimes death if they accumulate severe burdens.
Most species of animal, as well as humans, can be infected with intestinal worms including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, fish, birds and reptiles. Worms can be acquired through contact with infested faeces, infected animals or eating infected meat or wildlife.
Common intestinal worms in Australian pets are:
Worms sometimes have complex lifecycles which involve a period of existence and development outside your pet. Understanding the life cycle of a specific worm is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented. For instance, some tapeworms need to pass through fleas to complete their lifecycle, so flea prevention is an important method of controlling tapeworms.
It is reccomended to worm your pet regularly throughout their life to keep them protected from intestinal parasites. There are many worming treatments available. We recommend Drontal for dogs and cats, a 3-monthly chew or tablet. For pets that do not like oral preventatives, there are top-spot products also available.
Below are some tips to consider regarding worm prevention:
- Promptly clean up pet faeces
- Practice good hygiene, always encourage children to wash their hands regularly (especially after playing in dirt or sandpits, playing with pets or prior to eating)
- Prevent children from playing where the soil may be contaminated
- Keep your pet's environment clean
- Always dispose of dog faeces in public parks and playgrounds