What are dog and cat worms exactly?

They are not your typical earthworm or caterpillar… These bad boys can cause quite a bit of harm if eggs are swallowed (and they are everywhere… in soils, dog/cat faeces, on your pet’s fur…). There are 3 types of worms that are of importance in your pets… Roundworms (the gross noodle looking things that you see on photos), hookworms (these can really really cause illness and even death in your pet as they suck blood from the intestines, causing anemia… they are about 1 inch long and super thin), and there are flatworms (tapeworms, which come out of your pet’s bottom in the form of little rice grain-sized portions). 

Why prevention is important:

Cats and dogs are ideal hosts for intestinal parasites. Depending on the worm, an infestation can have a range of effects, from weight loss, exercise intolerance to just generally not feeling well. To keep your pet in top shape, deworming should be a part of their regular wellness routine. This will help keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

Signs and symptoms of worm infestation in pets:

Mature tapeworms start shedding egg-filled segments, which irritate the pet’s bottom as they wriggle out of the anus and may be seen as what looks like grains of rice. In dogs, this causes the classic symptom of ‘scooting’ or dragging their bottom along the ground to relieve the itchy butthole!

Apart from this, there are a few other signs:

  • visible worms or eggs in the faeces
  • visible worms on the fur or around the dog’s rear
  • scratching or rubbing of rear
  • weakness, increased appetite and weight loss
  • diarrhoea and vomiting
  • poor or dull coat appearance and lethargy. 

When to deworm:

Puppies and kittens are very prone to get worms and should be dewormed at the first and second vaccination (and sometimes every 2 weeks until the age of 16 weeks if there is a known worm burden).

Adult cats and dogs should be dewormed an absolute minimum of every 6 months. If they are known to hunt, they should be dewormed every 3 months. Animals on a raw diet have been recommended by professionals to deworm monthly.

But my cat is a nightmare to pill… What do I do?? The good news is, there are plenty really great topical products now that do both tick/flea treatment AND deworming! Speak to your vet about which one is best for your pet and this can be used in the interim between annual visits. It is still recommended to at least do a proper tablet dewormer at least 1 x year though, as most of the topical products do not cover all worms. Dogs are generally a little easier to dose than cats, however, allow us to help you if you have a difficult doser!

Keep those itchy botti’s free of these pesky parasites, and ensure your pet gets dewormed regularly!