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Recognising worm infections

Most worm infections can actually be quite difficult to detect. Sometimes pets will show little to no outward signs or symptoms, however there are some signs that you can look out for. Although some worms are visible, making an infestation obvious, others are invisible to the naked eye. Heartworms, whipworms and hookworms cannot be seen so you should always look out for symptoms and get them treated straight away. Any symptoms will depend on the type of parasite and the location of infestation, but keep an eye out for any of these symptoms that could be indicating a worm infection in your pet:

  • Visible worms - sometimes worms like roundworms and tapeworms can be visible in your pet’s stools or vomit. Tapeworms in particular may also be seen around your pet’s anus and in their bedding. They can either be found in segmented pieces or whole.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea - if your pet is experiencing sickness and diarrhoea often, then it is possible they could be suffering from a worm infection.
  • Weight loss - this is one of the most common symptoms of worm infection and can be related to any worm.
  • Bloating to the abdomen - some pets will develop a potbellied appearance. This symptom is most likely in puppies or kittens that have caught a worm infection from their mother. A swollen stomach is most likely to be from a roundworm infection.
  • Poor growth - this symptom applies to puppies or kittens that have caught a worm infection from their mother.
  • Itching - you may notice your pet is agitated and is suffering from an itching around the anus. This is top indicator of tapeworms so check your pet over for visible worms.
  • Dull coat - your pet’s fur may start to become dull, dry and coarse.
  • Anaemia - if your pet has been diagnosed with anaemia, they could also be suffering from hookworms. As the worms live in the intestines of the pet and feed off their blood, it can cause life-threatening anaemia, particularly in young kittens.
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