Worms are parasites that get their nutrients by feeding off their host - usually an animal or person. There are several types of worms that can affect pets and some can be passed to humans. Here in the UK, the major human health risk is from the roundworm ‘Toxocara spp.’ and the tapeworm: ‘E. Granulosus’. Both are rare but there is no way of preventing your pet from coming int contact with these parasites which is why regular worming is vital.
- Increased appetite
- Worms in faeces, vomit or around the pet’s bottom
- Weight loss
- Poor coat condition
- Spending more time than usual cleaning bottom
- Swollen or distended stomach
What causes worms?
Cats and dogs can catch worms from other infected animals. Worms can also be passed from mother to offspring, plus pets can get worms from swallowing worm eggs or larvae in the environment (for example in infected faeces, urine or in grass). Worms can also be acquired from eating raw meat, infected prey animals or from fleas (fleas can carry tapeworm eggs).
How are worms treated?
Pets should be wormed regularly against roundworm and tapeworms. Your vet can advise on this. A regular flea treatment should be used (as fleas can carry tapeworm eggs). Food bowls should be regularly cleaned and disinfected with a pet-safe product. Owners should dispose of pet faeces carefully and hands should be washed thoroughly before eating.
If your pet has worms these are easy to eliminate with suitable preparations designed specifically for this purpose. If your pet has tapeworm you must also treat him or her for fleas.
Alternative Remedies & Self-help
As a responsible owner discourage your dog from fouling in public places and always carry a poop-scoop or plastic bag to clear up any mess. Regular worming will help to prevent contaminated eggs getting into the environment.