Why do I need to deworm my pet?
Parasitic worms are as common as fleas to your pet, especially in puppies and kittens. From one centimetre hookworms to metre-long flat tapeworms, they can also be transmitted to people in some instances.
The most common worms are roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms and infection often goes unnoticed. However, ignoring possible symptoms and not undertaking treatment can potentially lead to serious illness.
Above images courtesy of the US Center for Disease Control
There are four common ways worms can be transmitted:
- Through the placenta of a pregnant mother to the unborn foetus;
- Infection of milk during nursing;
- Contact with soil contaminated with the faeces of an infected animal; and
- Ingestion of fleas carrying the worm during grooming.
Minor infections carry little significance but nearly all these parasites will induce serious disease if present in large numbers. Many animals have a degree of immunity but if stressed, the numbers of worms can increase from a harmless population to one that can threaten the health of an animal.
Signs that your animal may be suffering with worms include gastrointestinal disturbances, coughing, weakness, weight loss, anaemia and a swollen abdomen in pups or kittens.
Fortunately, there are a wide-variety of effective deworming products available. Animals can be treated from as young as eight weeks and should be given treatment every month until they are six months old. Thereafter, they should received treatment every three months.
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