It may not be the most exciting topic in the world, but we need to talk about intestinal worms.

Our pets are such an important part of our families and share many aspects of our lives but one thing we don’t want to share with our pets is intestinal worms.

Even if your pet seems fine and healthy, The British Small Animal Veterinary Association recommends worming all adult dogs and cats at least every three months to keep these common parasites at bay.

Here at Millcroft Veterinary Group we’ve compiled this top ten list of things you need to know about your pet and worms:

1. Left untreated, worms can cause health problems in cats and dogs – and some infections can be transmitted to humans, including toxocara canis, which is easily picked up by children.

2. The two main types of intestinal worm are roundworm and tapeworm. Roundworm infections are acquired by swallowing eggs. These eggs can survive in the soil for up to a year - another very important reason to remember to clear up after your pet has been to the toilet.

3. Common worms are easily controlled with a regular worming routine from birth. Puppies should be wormed very two weeks until 3 months old then monthly until six months. After six months all dogs need wormed every three months for effective protection.

4. Different worms may need different treatments – ask your vet which treatment is safe and suitable for your pet.

5. Tapeworms need an intermediate host such as mice or fleas to complete their lifecycle. Tapeworm segments are sometimes seen on an animals coat and resemble small grains of rice - a sure sign that worming is overdue!

6. Prevent tapeworms by using a flea treatment regularly, as fleas can carry tapeworm eggs.

7. Help prevent worms by regularly disinfecting your pet food and water bowls regularly, using pet friendly disinfectant. Clean up promptly after your pet and dispose of faeces carefully. Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly before you eat.

8. If your pet’s fur becomes dry and coarse, if they have an increased appetite, or appear lethargic and have diarrhoea these may be signs that your pet needs worm treatment. In some severe cases, infected puppies and kittens can have a distended abdomen or 'pot belly'.

9. Animals can pick worms up from other infected animals, from eating the larvae or eggs of worms (e.g. in infected faeces or in grass), or in some cases by eating raw meat, infected prey animals or other parasites.

10. There are many different products available from your vet. It’s important to use a wormer that will safely and reliably target ALL types of intestinal worm.
Contact your local Millcroft Veterinary Group Surgery to find out more about worming your pet.

Remember - Regular worming treatment will help to protect your pet and safeguard the health of your family.