Pictures, descriptions, and symptoms of some of the most common worms your cat or dog is likely to have.
Roundworms affect nearly all puppies and kittens. The worms are passed to the young animals through the mothers milk. Cats and Dogs pick up the worms by ingesting contaminated soil, insects, or infected animals.
If your kitten or puppy has a severe case of Roundworms they may have appear pot-bellied and have a dull coat. They may also have diarrhoea, they may cough and lose their appetite. It is also possible to see mucus in their stool, or even worms in the stool or vomit.
It is normally recommended that all kittens and puppies are given a worm dose.
Probably the most common of worms found in cats or dogs is the Tapeworm. Especially in areas where there is a high flea population.
The Tapeworm requires the flea as an intermediate host. Cats and dogs ingest infected fleas while grooming giving the worm a free ride into its primary host.
Tapeworms are made up of a chain of small segments, each containing hundreds of eggs. These segments break away when mature and are passed out of the host in stools.
The Tapeworm itself can grow up to a foot in length and can be detected when the segments are found in a litter box, in the fur around your pets anal area, or in their bed. The segments look like dried rice. Large infestations cause diarrhoea, possibly blood, and cause a partial blockage. If you are treating your pet for fleas it is best to also treat for Tapeworm.
The Hookworm is a more serious case. A Hookworm infection can cause severe anaemia. Look for signs such as diarrhoea, weight loss, vomiting, unrest, and a lack of energy. In very young kittens the worms can cause a sudden collapse and death.
The tiny worms are not visible in the stool and can only be identified by a microscopic examination. The animals are infected by consuming eggs found in faeces or by the worm larvae penetrating the skin. They can be treated as with the other worms.
Heatworms are a blood parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes transfer baby worms when they bite. (picture of worms to ugly to include- click the mosquito to see heartworms)
More common in dogs but heartwoms also infect cats. Called heartworms because they travel through the body until they reach the heart where they mature and shed microfilaria into the blood stream.
A severely infected animal will suffer from reduced blood circulation and heart function. Cats will often show little sign (any sign is likely to be intermittent vomiting) until they collapse and die.
For cats to become infected they must live in an area where there are microfilariae infected dogs, and mosquitoes that have a taste for both dogs and cats. Heartworms will require a specific treatment.