Treat regularly against intestinal worms and keep your pets and family safe
It is easy to ignore the problem of intestinal worms as there are often no obvious external signs of infestation unless your pet passes a tapeworm segment or more rarely vomits or passes an adult worm. However, intestinal worms can have a detrimental effect on your pet’s health, particularly puppies and kittens. Heavy burdens of worms can cause life threatening intestinal blockages and heavy hookworm burdens can cause iron-deficiency anaemia. Regular worming can help prevent these deleterious outcomes.
Puppies and kittens can become infected with various intestinal worms via their mother through the uterus and/or milk. It is always important to start worming early and to continue throughout your pet’s life.
Some of the intestinal worms that infect dogs and cats in the UK can also cause serious disease in humans through accidental infection. The disease outcome in humans is variable but can lead to liver damage, blindness…. Children are more likely to be infected than adults due to their lifestyle i.e. play in soil / sandpits and with potentially contaminated toys.
Humans can also be infected with the dog and cat tapeworm Dipylidium caninum by accidentally swallowing infected fleas that are an intermediate host in this parasite’s lifecycle.
Other canid (dog, fox..) tapeworm species that can cause serious disease in humans are Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus granulosus. Fortunately, the former is not currently found in the UK and the latter occurs only in isolated areas of the UK including Wales and the Western Isles of Scotland.
HOW TO CONTROL INTESTINAL WORMS IN DOGS AND CATS
We can perform a risk assessment and tailor a program of intestinal worm control specific to your household and the lifestyle of your pets to reduce the risk of intestinal parasites to your pets and family. We supply effective wormers that are prescription only medicines. Under the dispensing rules, your pets must be registered at our practice and have been seen by us within the previous 12 months in order for us to prescribe these.
In addition to regular worming of pets, other simple actions can reduce the risk of human infection: cover your sand-pit to prevent cats using it as a litter tray, wash your hands after play/handling dogs and always promptly bag-and-bin fresh faeces.
To help control one of the tapeworm species, Dipylidium caninum, don’t forget flea control is also necessary because the flea acts as an intermediate host and a source of tapeworm infestation for your dogs and cats. (more information – flea control).