TYPES OF WORMS IN CATS AND DOGS

Cats and dogs can get roundworms, tapeworms, lungworm, whipworm and hookworm. All of these worms can affect your pets and are potential hazards to your family’s health.

 

SYMPTOMS

In some cases, your pet will show no symptoms but may be passing roundworm eggs when passing faeces. Infected faeces pose a risk to humans, especially children and on rare occasions, this can have serious consequences such as causing blindness. The presence of worms may weaken your pets immune system therefore making it more susceptible to infection.

CATS

Mild infestation provide little or no symptoms in a healthy cat;a more severe infestation can cause vomiting with diarrhoea or constipation leading to weight loss.

DOGS

Light infestation may go unnoticed in a healthy dog, however with a heavy infestation your dog may suffer vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, leading to weight loss. The migrating larvae of some worms can even cause lung damage and breathing problems.

Lungworm can cause potentially fatal bleeding and severe respiratory signs.

ROUTES OF INFECTION

– Ingestion of worm eggs from the soil.
– Ingestion of worm larvae developing in a host animal, eg mouse,rabbit or bird.
– Ingestion of infected fleas.
– Primary infection via infected mothers milk.
– Angiostrongylus (lungworm)is spread when dogs eat slugs, snails or potentially even drinking from water where they have been eg. plant pots.

FLEAS

Fleas are becoming an all year round problem with centrally heated houses, allowing them to breed. In adult pets (and humans ) the main problem is the bite, which leads to skin irritation. Fleas are also involved in the transmission of tapeworms.

There are two main species of flea found in the UK, the cat flea and the dog flea. The cat flea is by far the most common and can live and breed on the cat and dog and bite humans.

Although adult fleas cause all the problems related to fleas, they represent only 5% of the total flea population. The other 95% consists of immature stages of the flea life cycle which infests the pets environment eg bedding,carpets and furniture.

The life cycle begins when the adult flea lays eggs in the coat of the pet. The eggs drop off into the environment and develop through immature larvae and pupal stages to form the next generation of adult fleas. When the flea first emerges, it immediately begins to search for a host and blood meal. After just one meal of blood, the female becomes sexually mature and can start to lay eggs. A single flea can produce over 2000 eggs in its lifetime.

TICKS

Ticks are spider like blood sucking insects. They have eight legs and vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long.

Ticks are common in woodland and grassland but can be found in your garden.

They are most commonly seen between spring and autumn, but they are active throughout the year. Ticks don’t fly or jump but climb or drop onto your pets coat when they brush past them.

Ticks are big enough to see so it is a good idea to check your pets coat daily.They tend to attach themselves to the head, neck,ears and feet. A tick will feel like a small bump on your pets skin and can sometimes be mistaken as a wart.

If you find a tick it is important to have it removed correctly , ask your vet or nurse for advice.

PREVENTION

Ticks pass on infections from one animal to another. They feed by biting an animal and feasting on their blood. Ticks transmit microbes that causes diseases, such as lymes disease and babesiosis. Lymes disease is a serious bacterial infection which may cause lethargy, loss of appetite, lameness and stiff joints.

Babesiosis is still rare in the UK but it has been confirmed in the south. It can be life threatening therefore year round preventative treatment is advisable.

 

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