Intestinal Worms

There are several different types of Intestinal Worms, we recommend the following worming schedules. 

For Dogs

Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms: covered by 3 monthly worming. 

Flea Tapeworm: covered by 3 monthly worming and good flea control.

Hydatid Tapeworm: covered by 6 weekly worming for those dogs in contact with sheep and fed sheep offal.

For Cats

Roundworm, Hookworm: covered by 3 monthly worming. 

Flea Tapeworm: covered by 3 monthly worming and good flea control.

Zipper Worm (Spirometra erinacei): a rare worm placing hunting cats at risk. A high dose of tapeworm medication is required to clear the infection and can be administered by your veterinarian. 

How are they spread?

Round, Hook and Whipworms can be picked up by your pet by coming into contact with contaminated soil or infected dogs and cats.  Worm eggs can last on the ground for years.  Some intestinal worms can be spread within the womb or via the mother’s  milk.  Puppies and Kittens are especially at risk so frequent worming is required until 12 weeks of age.

Flea tapeworm (Dipylidium) is spread when dogs and cats groom themselves and swallow fleas infected with tapeworm larvae.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Worm infestation can be hard to spot until the symptoms become severe.  Infected pets usually don’t have any symptoms. Don’t assume that your pet isn’t infected just because it seems happy and healthy.  Hookworm infestation can be especially dangerous as they cause intestinal blood loss and anaemia in puppies and kittens.  Early signs of worm infestation may include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, mucoid stool, black stool, lethargy and scooting (itchy bottom).

Hydatid Tapeworm  (Echinococcus granulosis) in Australia is the most serious locally acquired form of tapeworm infestation which can infect dogs and dingoes, particularly in sheep farming areas.  Dogs become infected by eating infected sheep offal.  

Vets test for Round, Hook and Whipworm infestations by looking at an especially prepared stool sample under the microscope to find their eggs.  Tapeworm infestations can be spotted based on clinical signs and confirmed with spotting tapeworm segments around your pet’s itchy bottom.

Zoonosis

Roundworms, Hookworms and Hydatid Tapeworms can cause disease in people.  Diseases that people get from animals are called Zoonotic Diseases.  Avoiding this is easy following the preventative worming schedule above.  Also dispose of your pet’s faeces carefully wearing rubber gloves. Clean all dog droppings TWICE weekly.  Wash your hands thoroughly after disposing of droppings.  Thoroughly clean and disinfect the kennel and surrounding area.

Always wash your hands with plenty of soap and water after touching your dog. Instruct children to do the same.  Wash hands before eating, drinking and smoking and after gardening or handling animals.  Only feed your dog with commercially prepared dog foods.  

Do not feed raw or cooked offal to your dog. This includes offal bought from a supermarket or butcher.  Be especially vigilant if you are a sheep or cattle farmer. For example, keep your dog fenced or on a lead when it is not working to prevent it from eating carcasses.  Do not allow your dog to roam when holidaying in country areas.    If you grow your own vegetables, fence your vegetable patch to make sure that pets and wild animals can’t defecate on the soil.  Don’t walk barefoot where dogs could have gone to the toilet.

Prevention is easy by following regular worming schedules.

Bull terrier