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Worms in Dogs and Cats

  
 

What are worms in dogs and cats?

Worms or helminths are internal parasites that drain pets of blood and nutrients. Dogs and cats get worms that can be classified by shape into round or flat. Three types of round-shaped worms (nematodes) live in pet intestines: roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Two types of flat-shaped tapeworms (cestodes) live in pet intestines and other organs, including the liver: echinococcus and taenia. Dogs commonly get hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. Cats commonly get roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms, but not whipworms.

Pets can also get lungworms, esophageal worms, bloodworms, kidney worms, liver flukes, and intestinal protozoa. The most common pet worms are roundworms, and hookworms. Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) are not intestinal parasites but are parasites that live in the heart. Heartworms are not spread like regular intestinal worms, but are spread by mosquitoes. They infect both cats and dogs and can cause death.

  
Dogs commonly get hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms
  
Key Facts About Worms in Dogs and Cats
  • Over ¾ of fecal exams do not find parasites present in feces.
  • Because puppies & kittens are born with worms, they should be dewormed regularly.
  • Some worms that infect pets also infect people.
  •   

      

    Which pets Are Most at Risk for Worms?


    Almost universally, puppies and kittens have intestinal worms. Puppies and kittens whelped in large kennels or in unhygienic conditions have the greatest worm burdens. Pets using pet parks, doggy day cares with communal potty areas, farmyards, and city streets where feces is on the sidewalk are prone to having worms. Pregnant and lactating females have worms. Pets kept in humane shelters generally have intestinal worms.

    How Do Pets Get Worms?


    Puppies and kittens are born with intestinal worms. This occurs because worms resting within the mother's body are stimulated to grow by hormones secreted during pregnancy. The newly developed worms within the mother pass through the placenta (transplacental) and into the young before they are born. In addition, worms are passed through the mother's milk (transmammary) to the young. Puppies, kittens, and lactating bitches and queens should be wormed routinely.

    Adult pets pick up worms from eggs that stay in the soil after pets have defecated. Some worm eggs survive for years in soil. Pets also pick up worms from

    • Eating fleas
    • Catching prey, such as mice and snails
    • Eating feces of other pets and farm animals

      

      
     
    Max's Tip: To prevent human infections, pets in homes with children, immune-compromised individuals, or elderly persons should be dewormed at least every three months.  
      

      

    Worms and Deworming Medications

    Common Name Scientific Name Size Where Pets
    Pick It Up
    Zoonotic Risk To Humans Deworming Medications
    Roundworms

    Ascarids
    Toxocara canis
    Toxocara Baylisascaris

    ½ to 8 inches Toxocara from mother's placenta,
    mother's milk, & the ground

    Baylisascaris from raccoons & skunks

    Visceral larval migrans

    Dog Worms 3
    Drontal
    Drontal Plus Canine
    Heartgard Plus
    HomeoPet Wrm Clear
    Iverhart Plus
    Panacur C
    Profender Cat Wormer
    Revolution
    Sentinel

    Hookworms

    Ancyclostoma caninum
    Uncinaria

    ¼ - ½ inch

    Mother's placenta,
    mother's milk,
    the ground &
    eating infected prey

    Larva migrans

    Eosinophilic enteritis

    Dog Worms 3
    Drontal
    Drontal Plus Canine
    Heartgard Chewables
    Heartgard Plus
    HomeoPet Wrm Clear
    Panacur C
    Profender Cat Wormer
    Revolution
    Sentinel

    Whipworms

    Trichuris

    2-3 inches

    The ground

    Drontal Plus Canine
    Sentinel
    Panacur C

    Threadworms

    Strongyloides

    ¼ inch or less

    Transmammary Ground

    Infects humans

    Panacur C

    Tapeworms

    Dipylidium
    Taenia
    Diphyllobothrium
    Echinococcus

    Adult is up to 2 feet long, but dried segments in feces are size of rice grain
     
    Segments dry to size of sesame seed

    Dipylidium from eating fleas

    Taenia from eating rodents

    Diphyllobothrium from eating freshwater fish

    Echinococcus from sheep, cattle, deer, coyote, rodents

    Hydatid disease

    Dog Worms 3
    Droncit
    Drontal
    Drontal Plus Canine
    HomeoPet Wrm Clear
    Panacur C
    Profender Cat Wormer
    Tape Worm Tabs Cat

     

    Product
    Active Ingredient

    Species

    Roundworms

    Hookworms

    Whipworms

    Tapeworms

    Schedule

    Can cause human infections

    Can cause human infections

    Can cause human infections

    Dog Worms 3
    Pyrantel Pamoate
    Praziquantel

    Dogs

    +

    +

     

    +

    Give as a single dose

    Droncit
    Praziquantel

    Dogs
    Cats

    +

    +

    Single dose with food

    Drontal
    Praziquantel
    Pyrantel Pamoate

    Cats
    Kittens

    +

    +

    +

    With food

    Drontal Plus Canine
    Praziquantel
    Pyrantel Pamoate
    Febantel

    Dogs

    +

    +

    +

    +

    With food

    HomeoPet Worm Clear

    Dogs
    Cats

    +

    +

    +

    Daily for 1-2 weeks

    Panacur C
    Fenbendazole

    Dogs

    +

    +

    +

    +

    With food

    Profender Cat Wormer

    Cats

    +

    +

    +

    Apply topically

    Tape Worm Tabs for Cats
    Praziquantel

    Cats

    +

    +

    +

    With food

     
     
     
      

      
    More Information About Worms in Dogs and Cats
      

     

       
     
     
       
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