The worms that our pets are at risk from consist of two main types – roundworms and tapeworms.
Roundworms are very common in puppies, kittens and stray animals. It is important to note that they can infect humans and cause varying illnesses from mild abdominal pain to blindness and can even cause death in puppies and kittens. Not worming our pets regularly can cause a build up of worm eggs in the environment, especially in areas such as parks where many dogs are walked and this is a cause for concern because this is where many children play. It also highlights the importance of clearing up any “No 2s” your dog leaves when on a walk!
Tapeworms are not as common as roundworms and as the main way of catching them is from fleas, if your pet’s flea treatment is up-to-date your dog or cat should not have any of them living in their intestines. They can, however, be picked up by animals that hunt or if you feed your animal raw meat. In Wales, a particularly nasty tapeworm is common and this can cause large cysts to grow in humans so treatment for tapeworms is recommended if your take your animal on holiday to Wales. Similarly in Europe where there are also tapeworms that can cause disease in humans so your animal must be treated within 24-48 hours prior to entry into the UK.
Worming your pet is important but the frequency of doing so varies depending on age and life style. Puppies and kittens should be wormed monthly until 12 weeks old because the majority will have roundworms. Animals that go outside should also be treated regularly. There is a very good spot-on treatment available from your vet that not only eliminates fleas but also provides a monthly roundworm treatment.
If your animal has fleas then it will need treatment for tapeworm every month and monthly flea control would be advisable. Again, if the animal hunts or eats raw meat, it should be treated for tapeworm every month. The treatment for tapeworm is normally in the form of a tablet but there is an injection available for very difficult patients! Bitches and queens should be wormed during pregnancy to reduce contamination to the puppies and kittens.
If you have any queries regarding worming your pet then consult your vet and he will advise you of a suitable regime. Worming should be monthly against roundworm if you have small children.