By Dr. Dave Bomberg, Pet Practice Dinsdale

Dogs and cats should be treated for worms every three months. The eggs of worms that affect pets are widespread in the environment and pets are exposed to them every day. They may come from the faeces of other dogs and casts that have worms. Many healthy adult pets carry a small number of worms but regular worm treatment keeps these numbers low to prevent disease.

Worm infestation can adversely affect health, causing poor body conditions, diarrhoea, coughing, skin diseases, and vomiting. Remember that there are four types of worms that affect dogs and cats, but many supermarket-type wormers will only kill one. Be careful what you buy.

Remember that most young animals are born with worms passed from their mothers. Frequent worming in the first months of life is critical to the health of these puppies and kittens. Pets living in high-density areas and kennel situations are exposed to large numbers of worm eggs even if they have no direct contact with other dogs. Pregnant and lactating dogs and cats should also be wormed regularly to reduce the number of eggs passed to their young. The risk of pets causing disease in human family members is low if simple hygiene measures are taken along with regular pet worming.

Worm treatment checklist:

  • Worm adult cats and dogs every three months with a treatment that kills all the major worm types. Treat at the beginning of each season.
  • Pick up and dispose of dog faeces using a glove or plastic bag.
  • Worm kittens and pups every two weeks until three months of age with a kitten or puppy wormer product from your veterinarian.
  • Treat high-risk animals regularly as advised by your vet.
  • Teach children good pet hygiene. Don’t let animals lick their faces and wash hands before eating.
  • Ask your trained veterinary staff for worming products to suit your individual pet’s needs.
  • Cover sandpits when not in use.
  • Check for correct treatment before taking dogs on farms.