Worming You Cat or Dog
Worming, along with Flea control is something we get asked about every day. Here at Aarons Pets, we are licenced to sell vet strength wormers and flea treatments. We have 4 staff who are SQPs (suitably qualified persons) and are registered with AMTRA. We are here to help you with a worm and flea control programme and will do our best to help you understand why it needs to be done. On this page you will find out a little about the worms that infect Cats and Dogs in the UK and how and when to treat them.
If you have any specific questions about wormers or any aspect of your pets care, please ask a member of staff. Dose rates can be found at the bottom of this page.
Worms are internal parasites that affect all kinds of pet. Most live in the digestive tract, feeding on blood and ingested food. Worms Can cause diseases, be passed to humans, cause discomfort and stress and also have deadly consequences in extreme cases
Your pets can get worms from other infected animals, during pregnancy or via the mothers milk, or via fleas and lice.
You may not see signs of worms in the faeces. This does not mean your dog is clear of worms. Signs of a worm infestation may include:
- bloated tummy and or diarrhoea
- dragging bottom on the floor
- lack of energy
- dull coat
- increased appetite
Some dogs show no symptoms at all which is why routine worming is so important.
Types of Worms
There are two main groups of worms that affect cats and dogs in the UK. Roundworms and Tapeworms.
Roundworms (nematodes) are white/beige in colour and can be coiled like a spring. They may grow to about 180mm long and can be evident in a pet’s faeces or vomit. Roundworms in cats are:
- Toxocara cati
- Toxascaris leonine
Hookworms although not indigenous to this country they may be found in imported cats in quarantine or travelling under the Pet Travel Scheme.
Gastro-intestinal worms found in dogs are:
- Toxocara canis
- Toxascaris leonine
Pets become infected with roundworms by eating infectious eggs or larvae, active penetration of the larvae through the skin or eating a prey animal that acts as a host. However, the mother’s milk can also carry roundworms as a result of worms being passed from mother to puppy.
Roundworms do not need an intermediate host to develop, as infection results from ingestion of eggs or larvae. The larvae may travel through the body while they develop. Larvae in the final stages of development return to the small intestine, where they become adult roundworms and commence egg production, completing the life cycle.
Tapeworms are white/pale in colour and consist of flattened segments, which resemble grains of rice. They are filled with eggs, and moving segments are often evident in faeces or near a pet’s anus.
Tapeworms found in cats in the UK are:
- Dipylidium caninum (flea tapeworm)
- Taenia taeniaeformis
Tapeworms found in dogs in the UK are:
- Dipylidium caninum (flea tapeworm)
- Echinococcus multilocularis (although not indigenous to this country, may again be found in dogs in quarantine or travelling under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
A tapeworm cannot be transmitted from dog to dog or cat to cat; it has to have an intermediate host. For example, dogs and cats become infected with the flea tapeworm by swallowing fleas that are carrying the immature tapeworm, while grooming themselves. Once inside the intestine, the immature tapeworm carried by the flea develops into an adult worm that can grow to up to 50cm in length. Taenia worms are acquired when dogs or cats hunt, scavenge carcasses or feed on raw meat.
The tapeworm consists of a head portion, which is an attachment organ, a non-segmented neck region and a constantly regenerating series of segments. The entire chain of segments can be up to several metres long. Each segment is an independently functioning unit and contains up to a dozen eggs.
The life cycle of a tapeworm requires an intermediate host. The intermediate host becomes infected by eating tapeworm eggs and if this host is a mammal, the hooked immature tapeworm penetrates the gut wall and is carried through the body via the blood and the lymph system (NB if humans ingest tapeworm eggs then they can act as an accidental intermediate host).
Upon reaching certain preferred organs in the intermediate host, the tapeworm develops into an infective cyst. This cyst, which already contains a head, may then, for example, be ingested with the raw flesh of the intermediate host by the final host (dog or cat): this is the typical scenario for a dog scavenging on an infected sheep carcass, for example. In the intestinal tract of the final host, the head becomes exposed and attaches itself to the lining of the small intestine, where the tapeworm develops into the adult form.
We offer a range of wormers for dogs and cats. We have wormers that can be used from 2 weeks of age right up until their 20s if you are lucky enough to have them that long!
Our most popular wormer for animals over 6 months of age is Drontal Plus tablets. There is one for cats and one for dogs. There are also XL versions available for heavier animals.
- Only Drontal kills every type of intestinal worm commonly found in UK dogs and cats. Drontal now comes in a tasty bone shape.
- Drontal Oral Suspension for Puppies is available for use in puppies and young dogs up to one year of age. This product will control roundworms, whipworms and hookworms and is available as an easy to use suspension. Most young puppies should not need to be treated for tapeworms, making Drontal Oral Suspension for Puppies a very suitable choice.
- Drontal can be given both with or without food.
We also stock Panacur wormers which are a very gentle drug making them ideal for puppies and kittens. Whilst they do all the roundworms, they do not cover for all the taperwoms so if you have an adult dog or cat we would recommend Drontal unless there is a particular reason to say otherwise.
It is very important to know the weight of your animal before you worm them. The wormers are all easy to dose. If you are unsure of your pets weight we do have scales in both our stores, you are welcome to weigh them before hand.
We understand this is a lot of information to take in, if you would like to come in to either store we will happily answer any questions you may have. As a guide, it is recommended that you worm an adult cat or dog every 3 month for roundworm and tapeworm. For puppies and kittens under 6 months it is more frequent, please ask a member of staff and we will help you plan a worming schedule. It is very important to worm your puppy or kitten from a young age.