Worms in Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats frequently are hosts to internal parasites referred to broadly as worms. Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and whipworms are among the most common types of worms. Tapeworms and roundworms are the only types visible to the naked eye.
In general, worms can cause any combination of the following symptoms:

  • weight loss
  • dry hair
  • diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
  • vomiting

However, many times worms show no symptoms at all, lying dormant until perhaps activated by a period of stress in the body. Roundworms and hookworms also activate in the late stages of pregnancy, infesting soon to be born puppies and kittens. Worms are parasites that want to pass undetected so that they can continue to live off their host’s body, and many times succeed in doing so. This is why vets usually require a stool sample to detect what kind of parasite is present, not to mention that worms’ eggs can only be seen microscopically.
When it comes to worm infestations, early detection is vital. This is why your vet often requires a stool sample. Your vet will have the most effective treatment option available, so it’s best not to resort to over-the-counter wormers. Not all worms are created equal, so the type of treatment your pet will need depends on the worm.
To prevent worm infestations, remove feces from your yard at least once a week if your pet eliminates there. In addition, follow your vet’s advice about wormers; don’t mix wormers, change dosage, or use a wormer if your pet is taking any other medication with your vet’s consultation.
Come back on Sunday for a more specific descriptions of and treatments for each of the most common worms!