If you own a dog or cat, your pet could be susceptible to intestinal parasites known as worms. You might be surprised to learn that many animals are infested with harmlessly low levels of roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms or whipworms. However, when a large enough amount of parasites move in, they can cause health complications. Fortunately, almost all cases of pet worms can be detected and treated at Germantown Vet.
If your dog or cat shows signs of parasitic worms, schedule an appointment at Germantown Veterinary Clinic—just call us at 240-252-7467 today.
What Are Worms and How Do They Affect Your Pet?
Depending on the type of parasitic worms that infect your pet, they may lay dormant or they may begin wreaking havoc the moment they enter your pet’s digestive tract. Microscopic worm eggs often infect unhygienic surfaces, such as soil, raw meat, carrion or feces, waiting for your unsuspecting pet to ingest it.
- Roundworms infect a large percentage of puppies and kittens. Some are born with the parasites, which pass from the mother to the uterus before the animal is born. Other puppies and kittens contract roundworm from their mother’s infected milk. Parasites can also transmit to adult animals that eat infected rodents or feces.
- Tapeworms grow in segments, which can detach from the main body and appear in your pet’s stool or fur. This parasite can transmit to your pet if he eats infected soil, fleas or rodents.
- Hookworms are more common in dogs than cats. While only about an inch long at maturity, hookworms can cause dangerous health problems, including anemia, because they feed on your pet’s blood.
- Whipworms are also more likely to appear in dogs than cats. They live in infected soil and can transmit to your pet if he licks his dirty paws. Whipworms can be difficult to spot in stool samples, so your vet may prescribe medication based on circumstantial evidence.
Symptoms of Worms in Dogs and Cats
While symptoms depend on the type of parasite and vary slightly between dogs and cats, watch for these general signs that your pet has worms:
- Visible worm segments in your pet’s stool or fur
- Bloated or potbellied appearance
- Dull coat and dry skin
- Mucus or blood in the feces
- Abdominal pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Weakness, lethargy and fast heart rate (signs of anemia)
Treating Worms in Pets
Early diagnosis and treatment are important to restore your pet’s health. Since symptoms don’t always appear, routine stool tests are often recommended. A stool test reveals the presence of worms in your pet’s body. The vet may dissolve a stool sample in a special solution to make microscopic worm eggs easier to spot under a microscope.
The treatment you pursue depends on the type of worm living in your pet’s intestines. Usually, taking an oral deworming medication is enough to kill the parasites and pass them out of your pet’s body. Most treatments only take a few days, but follow-up visits are recommended to ensure a completely successful treatment.
Once your pet is worm-free, take preventative measures to keep it that way. Dog owners, watch your pet carefully at the park to make sure he doesn’t eat any dirt or feces. Cat owners, keep your feline indoors. You can also talk to your vet about putting your pet on preventative wormer medication.
Visit Germantown Vet for Pet Worm Treatment
Early detection and speedy treatment will have your pet feeling healthy again in no time. For help deworming your dog or cat, please schedule an appointment at Germantown Vet today.