Although it may seem straight out of a sci-fi movie, the danger of worms is a serious reality for your pets. Most worms and parasites are a threat to pets who have more access to the outdoors and other animals. It is important to be able to identify, treat, and prevent each of these worms. Whether you own a cat or a dog, worms and parasites can be very dangerous to their health. Ranging from something simple, like an upset stomach, all the way to life-threatening, worms will negatively affect your pet’s health. The most common types of worms to be aware of are hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. These worms can invade and infest your beloved pet’s body before physical symptoms manifest.
Types of Worms to Watch For
In this blog, we will go over each of these worms, how to identify them, how to treat them, and steps to prevent them. While many of these worms are more likely to affect dogs, it is still a very real possibility for them to affect cats as well. Many times a vet will ask for a stool sample to identify any worms. If worms are fully visible in the stool sample, your dog may be already exhibiting severe and advanced symptoms of an infection. A regular stool sample at your dogs regularly scheduled check-up can monitor for other signs, like eggs.
This kind of worm is significantly more common in puppies and dogs. The hookworm latches itself to the small intestine and sucks the blood of your pet. Puppies can be infected by nursing from a mother who is also infected. Additionally, exposure to any feces that contain the hookworms or their eggs can cause a dog to be infected. Since the hookworms feed off their blood, an advanced infection can cause anemia, fatigue, changes in behavior, and weight loss.
The whipworm can affect both cats and dogs. The worms resemble string and occupy your pet’s intestines. Since these worms do not lay eggs, it may be hard to identify them from a single stool sample. Symptoms to watch for in your pet include severe weight loss and mucus in their feces.
This worm is common in puppies and kittens. Especially if your puppy was recently adopted from a puppy mill or other area where they were in close contact with other animals. Signs to look for are a swollen stomach and mid-section. Roundworms spread easily as larvae and once inside the animal, they can lay up to a million eggs over a couple of weeks. This can cause the stomach to swell up. Once inside, roundworms grow up to five inches in length and fill the intestines. They absorb all of the nutrients in the intestines and lay their eggs. Severe infections can cause blockages in the pet and even death if left untreated.
Caused by fleas, tapeworms pose a threat to both cats and dogs. Tapeworm infestations can be very difficult to treat, and it is important to visit your veterinarian immediately. If your pet is often in tall, grassy areas or near other animals infected with fleas, be sure to take precautions. Tapeworms often look like small segments of tape and early signs appear attached to the fur near your pet’s anus. Tapeworm infestations can be aggressive and dangerous for your pet.
Preventing Worms is Key
Prevention is the key to a healthy, happy life for your pet. Regular check-ups and watching for symptoms are important. At Animal Care Center, we can help you identify any worms or parasites in your pet before they are a serious threat to your pet’s life. We also offer vaccinations to prevent infections in the first place. Avoid tall grass and other pets that may have been exposed to worms or parasites. If your pet looks lethargic, bloated, dirty, or displays any abnormal behaviors, it is recommended that they seek medical attention. At Animal Care Center we want your pet to live a long, happy, and healthy life.