Burke Road Veterinary Clinic 03 9822 3268

Intestinal Worms

There are two broad categories of worms that may affect our pet dogs and cats - intestinal worms and heartworms.  Please see our heartworm page for more information.

Intestinal Worms

Worming is one of the first health care issues pet owners need to address as puppies and kittens are the most susceptible. As their name suggests, intestinal worms are parasites that live an animal's intestines. These worms range in size from small to surprisingly large (up to 18cm in length). Regardless of their size however, they all have negative, and potentially deadly effects.

Most species of animal, as well as humans, can be infected with intestinal worms including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, fish, birds and reptiles.

Common intestinal worms in Australian pets are:

  • Roundworm

  • Tapeworm

  • Whipworm

  • Hookworm

If your pet has a large number of worms it may be difficult for them to maintain body condition or they may lose weight. In some cases intestinal worms can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even anaemia (a low red blood cell level). Occasionally, heavy worm burdens can cause death.

Worms sometimes have complex lifecycles which involve a period of existence and development outside your pet. Understanding the life cycle of a specific worm is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented.  For instance, some tapeworms need to pass through fleas to complete their lifecycle, so flea prevention is an important method of controlling tapeworms.

It is important to maintain a routine of regular worm treatment for your pets to reduce the incidence of infection and to reduce environmental contamination. There are many worming treatments available for the various worm infections that occur in our pets. These are available as tablets, spot-ons, or pastes. Re-infection is a common problem, particularly in pets that are in contact with a heavily contaminated environment. Another very important reason to worm your pets is to protect your family as children in particular can become infected with certain dog and cat worms.

There are several preventative treatments available. We recommend a 3 monthly Drontal chew (or tablet) for dogs and a 3 monthly Milbemax tablet for cats. We can even send you an email every 3 months to remind you to give it to your pet - just ask us to set this up for you.

We also stock Revolution, Interceptor and Sentinel as alternative instinal worm treatments.

Below are some tips to consider regarding worm prevention:

  • Promptly clean up pet faeces

  • Practice good hygiene - always encourage children to wash their hands regularly (especially after playing in dirt or sandpits, playing with pets or prior to eating)

  • Prevent children from playing where the soil may be contaminated

  • Keep your pet's environment clean

  • Always dispose of dog faeces in public parks and playgrounds

Please call us to discuss an intestinal worming program for your pet.