Parasites in general are a threat to the health of your loyal companion. There are many worms that can infect your cat or dog, which can cause major health problems and even death. Cats and dogs can become infected with tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and heartworms. The best way to protect your feline or canine companion is to have them tested and dewormed regularly throughout the year.
How do cats and dogs catch worms?
Though you can't always see them, it is quite easy for your loyal companion to come in contact with worms. Here are some ways in which your cat or dog may develop worms:
- By ingesting worm eggs when playing in dirt and grass
- From their mother - before they are born, puppies and kittens can get roundworm and hookworm from their mother
- From eating fleas - these parasites can transmit tapeworms to your loyal companion
- Hunting - if your cat or dog enjoys scavenging or hunting, there’s a chance they can get worms from infected prey
What are signs that my loyal companion has worms?
Even without the signs, it is still important for your cat or dog to be dewormed regularly. Your loyal companion can be asymptomatic for a while even though they are infected. Based on the amount of worms and how long they have been infected can determine when you start to see symptoms. Here are signs that your cat or dog has worms:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in their stool
- Laboured breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Passing worms in their stool
- Sudden weight loss
- Swollen abdomen
Do not take any of these symptoms lightly, contact your veterinarian immediately.
When should my dog or cat be dewormed?
Your cat or dog should be dewormed regularly throughout the year. In the early stages of their lives, they need to be on a strict deworming schedule. Kittens and puppies should start deworming between 2 to 4-weeks-old. Every two weeks they should have another round of deworming until they are 3 months old. Based on the lifestyle, health and age of your adult cat or dog, your veterinarian will create a deworming schedule for them. Typically, adult cats and dogs are dewormed every 3 months.
How can I protect myself from worms?
Zoonotic worms such as roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms can be transmitted from cats and dogs to humans. Those with compromised immune systems, children and pregnant women have a higher risk of becoming infected. The first step to protect yourself is to ensure your loyal companion is dewormed regularly and you should also implement proper hygiene when handling your cat or dog’s waste.