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Q&A – Worms

Q&A – Worms

What are ‘worms’?

We use the word ‘worms’ to describe a group of parasites that live inside the body of dogs and cats. These include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. 

How does my pet get worms?

Most worms are picked up when a dog or cat swallows an egg or larvae from the ground, e.g. when eating grass/ sniffing. They can also be picked up from hunting rodents or eating slugs and snails, and can even be spread by fleas. 

I can’t see any worms in my pet’s stools- why do I need to treat them? 

Most owners do not realise when their pets have worms. This group of parasites live, breed and feed inside the intestines of the dog or cat they are infecting, so will not be seen in their stools. Some types of worm are so tiny that they can’t be seen without a microscope. Sometimes we see symptoms in pets, for example a bloated tummy, weight loss, diarrhoea or scooting their bottom on the floor, but often we do not. There is a health risk to people exposed to dog poo containing worms, especially to children, so it’s important that all dog owners are responsible in reducing this risk by treating appropriately and picking up after their pet. 

How often do I need to worm my pet? 

This is dependent on their lifestyle and age. Our nurses and vets are happy to advise for each individual, and can offer different types of product such as ‘spot-ons’, tablets or oral liquids. Our team are always happy to help with administering or applying the medication if needed.