Why is worm prevention necessary?
Parasitic worms are very common in cats and dogs. Worms can affect our pets at any stage of their lives and if left untreated, they can cause serious illness.
And worms don’t just affect our pets – the wrigglers can affect us humans as well. Keep up a routine of regular preventative worming treatment to keep you, your family and your pet safe.
What are the most common types of worms?
The most common types of parasitic worm which affect pets in the UK are roundworm and tapeworm.
Cats and dogs may also carry other intestinal worms, such as lungworms, hookworms and whipworms.
How do worms affect pets?
Worms can wreak havoc on your pet’s health, given half a chance. They can be responsible for causing the following:
- Tummy pain
- Weight loss
- Dull or lifeless fur
In pups or kittens, large numbers of worms can even cause blockages on their insides, which sadly can be fatal.
This is why it’s so important to maintain a regular worming treatment regime.
Here’s a deeper dive into the two most common parasitic worms in the UK…
What are roundworms?
Toxocara roundworms are common intestinal parasites of cats and dogs.
Almost all puppies and kittens are infected by their mums at birth (puppies) or shortly afterwards via their mum’s milk.
At 6 months old, many of these worms are naturally eliminated. However, infection can still be topped up throughout the cat or dog’s life.
How does a pet get a roundworm infestation?
Most GI worms will ‘worm’ their way in when your pet accidentally eats worm eggs or larvae. The really gross part? It’s usually because another animal which had worms living in their gut, has already pooped them out!
How can roundworms make people poorly?
The movement of worm larvae through the body is linked to a variety of health problems, including:
- Abdominal pain
It sounds scary, and although the consequences of infection (toxocarosis) can be serious, a few simple precautions will help to massively reduce the risk of exposure. This includes keeping up a routine of regular preventative worming treatment!
What are tapeworms?
The most common tapeworms seen in cats and dogs are very large (often several metres long!)
Taenia tapeworms are the largest, with slow-moving segments passed in poo.
Dogs are infected through eating raw meat or offal, and cats through hunting small mammals.
A large infestation of these worms can cause weight loss and an itchy bum, which is what leads to ‘scooting’ (your pet dragging its bum across the floor).
How can I protect my pet and my family from tapeworms?
Dogs and cats should be treated regularly with a preventative worming treatment.
Don’t forget about the flea tapeworm…
As if fleas couldn’t get any worse, they can also give your pet worms! That’s right, your pet could accidentally swallow a flea mid-grooming sesh and if that blighter is carrying tapeworm larvae, they’ll be in your bestie’s guts and multiplying before you know it. Use a combo of regular flea treatment and worming treatment to say goodbye these pests.
Five steps to protect you and your pet from worms
1. Regular worming treatment for cats and dogs
Itch Wormer worming treatment is suitable for dogs 2 weeks or older, and cats 6 weeks or older.
Some pets, such as those living with young children, or those that hunt, should be treated monthly. Tell us all about your pet and we’ll recommend their perfect treatment frequency.
2. Picking up and (responsibly disposing of) dog poo
This is an important part of being a dog parent anyway, but it also helps to reduce environmental egg contamination.
3. Thorough washing of fruit and veggies
Cats are particularly good at contaminating home grown fruit and veg by doing their business on them.
By burying their poo, cats also inadvertently create perfect conditions for the egg’s survival. It also creates an unpleasant surprise for people playing in a sandpit, or digging in the garden!
Fruit and veg can be made completely safe for human consumption by thorough washing or cooking.
4. Good hand hygiene
Washing hands before eating, after playing with pets and after outdoor activity reduces the risk of many parasites being transferred from hand to mouth.
5. Covering sandpits
Aka giant litter trays.
We’re here to help
We’re a dab hand at slaying worms, if we do say so ourselves! The pet wellness pros in our customer service team are ready to support with any advice you might need. Drop our team a message 8am-10pm or call us on 020 3370 0905 Mon to Fri 8am-4pm.