Treating and Preventing Intestinal Worms in Dogs and Cats in Newport News, VA
Fleas and ticks are an external threat to our pets and, despite their tiny size, can still be detected with the naked eye when they are fully mature. However, there are also several types of intestinal worms that can infect our dogs and cats without us knowing, and occasionally, these parasites can be passed on to humans as well. Here in Newport News, our veterinary team has plenty of experience diagnosing and treating intestinal worms. If you suspect your pet has worms, contact Colony Animal Hospital and we’ll help you and your pet get rid of them, once and for all.
Common Intestinal Worms in Dogs and Cats
The most common worms found in dogs and cats are:
- Giardia and coccidia*
*Giardia and coccidia are considered “protozoan” parasites. These are microscopic, single-celled organisms which can interfere with your pet’s ability to absorb nutrients, and possibly cause chronic diarrhea and vomiting. These parasites can be picked up in water, so be wary of letting your pet near ponds and lakes.
One of the most common parasitic worms affecting dogs and cats, roundworms can infect a pet from the very beginning of their life (when the mother unknowingly passes the worms on to her young). Pets can also accidentally ingest roundworm larvae while sniffing around their environment. Severe roundworm infection can result in vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and an abnormal “potbelly” appearance.
Often, adult roundworms are shed in the feces or vomit of an infected animal. A good way to prevent the spread of roundworms is to clear away your pet’s feces as soon as possible, and keep your pet away from any wild animals in your yard. If you have children, don’t allow them to play in the yard where feces are present. Once you’ve disposed of your pet’s feces, wash your hands thoroughly.
Hookworms are similar to roundworms and tapeworms. They attach to the intestinal lining and feed on the host’s blood, and their eggs are passed through the digestive tract with the animal’s feces. Hookworm larvae can be found in soil, where they can be easily picked up by curious dogs and cats. Hookworms are dangerous because they can cause serious blood loss, diarrhea, and weight loss, particularly in puppies, if they are not treated soon enough.
To minimize your pet’s risk of infection, keep their environment clean and don’t let your pet wander into potentially contaminated areas. Also, it is possible for hookworms to penetrate human skin. Avoid walking barefoot in your garden or on the beach where traces of animal feces might have been deposited.
Tapeworms can be transmitted to your pet via fleas or rodents. They are known for having long, segmented bodies; these segments can sometimes be found stuck in the fur under your pet’s tail or in their feces, and look like flattened grains of rice. Unlike roundworms and hookworms, tapeworms do not usually cause symptoms in their hosts, aside from the telltale visual signs mentioned above. If you see evidence of tapeworm in your pet, contact us immediately so we can treat them.
Similar to hookworms, whipworm eggs can be picked up from soil or other places with traces of dog feces. A severe whipworm infection can result in bloody diarrhea, and, in a worst-case scenario, cause death.
As with other intestinal parasites, a couple of ways to minimize exposure include cleaning up your pet’s (or another pet’s) feces and keeping your pet away from areas that might be contaminated.
Treating and Preventing Intestinal Worms in Dogs and Cats
Colony Animal Hospital offers safe and effective deworming medications for puppies, kittens, and adult dogs and cats. In addition to these treatments, we also strongly recommend keeping your pet on flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives throughout the year as an extra layer of protection. Finally, our team recommends yearly fecal testing so we can check your pet’s stool for signs of worms. The earlier we detect a problem, the sooner we can resolve it.
Contact our AAHA-accredited animal hospital today at (757) 877-6464 if you have questions or need treatment for your pet!