Though worms may be one of the more common maladies a pet can encounter, they can frequently, and often rapidly, lead to very serious complications if left unchecked. This makes it very important to know the risks and symptoms as a pet owner so that you can take action as soon as possible.
At Village Vet of Urbana we want to equip you as best we can to ensure your pet has a happy, healthy life! If you suspect worms in your pet or notice any of the signs, please contact us online or call 301-228-0681 to set an appointment!
What Are Worms in Dogs & Cats?
The term “worms” actually refers to a variety of intestinal parasites that include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. These are all parasitic in nature, and though many pets actually have them present in their intestines at any time with no real ramifications, worm infestations can spread and become a serious threat at any time.
- Roundworms. Roundworms are particularly common in kittens and puppies, many of which are born with them or get them from nursing an infected mother. Roundworms can also be present in adult pets, transmitted via feces, rodents, or infected food sources.
- Tapeworms. Tampeworms typically come from fleas (the most common source), soil, rodents, and infected foods. These nasty parasites are segmented and often detach, where they can be found in your pets leavings, or occasionally fur.
- Hookworms. Hookworms specifically target your pet’s blood, attaching to the intestinal wall to feed, and thus are of the more dangerous variety. They are considerably more common in dogs, though cats can also contract hookworms.
- Whipworms. Once again more common in dogs, whipworms are found typically in soil. They are particularly small and hard to spot when exposed via feces, which usually means a diagnosis is necessary.
Symptoms of Parasitic Worms
Symptoms can be quite varied, based both upon the type of worm and the pet, though there are still a fair number that are very clear. Notify us if your pet has any of the following symptoms (especially two or more symptoms in combination):
- Worm segments present on fur (around the rear) or in pet stool
- Pet appears bloated
- Dull fur, frequent dry skin
- Mucus or blood in the pet’s stool
- Signs of pain (barking/meowing, hiding, aggression)
- Abnormal stool including constipation and diarrhea
- Frequent vomiting
- Weight loss and refusal to eat
- Signs of anemia (weakness, rapid heart rate, sleeping abnormal amounts)
Treatments for Worms in Pets
Thankfully worms are very treatable, and in most cases an oral medication is sufficient. More specialized or drastic treatments can be necessary, but this is quite rare. It is important to note that a proper diagnosis is important! Many over the counter treatments only handle one of the many worm types, and thus can no impact on your pet’s condition.
Worm treatments sometimes take days, but are often a process, so be prepared to continue treatments for an extended period and to monitor your pet’s behavior (and litterbox/favorite yard spot) for weeks, possibly months to ensure no recurrent infestation occurs. Once the treatment is successful be sure to reduce the risks of infestation in the future! Control fleas, clean litter boxes and pup messes quickly and often, and practice good hygiene.
Worm Diagnosis & Treatment with Village Vet of Urbana
Suspect your pet may have worms, or is your fur buddy showing some symptoms? Reach the experts at Village Vet of Urbana as soon as possible! Early detection and treatment prevents further troubles and health risks, so give us a call as soon as you can.