Where do worms come from?
Worm infections are transmitted to your pet when they eat the eggs, normally from licking where other animals have defecated such as parks and gardens. Many puppies are born with worms normally roundworms that have been passed to them from their mother. Tapeworms can only be transmitted by an intermediate host when a cat or dog ingests fleas.
Are worms harmful to my children?
Roundworms and hookworms can affect humans, especially children which makes worming your pet regularly important. Humans are infected by swallowing eggs from the environment such as children playing with sand and soil and then putting their hands in their mouth. The larvae ingested can cause serious disease. Visceral larva migrans is the main threat for children with symptoms including fever, pneumonia and encephalitis. The larvae can also get into the eye, called ocular larval migrans, which can cause potentially severe damage such as a detached retina and even blindness. There are currently only about 12 cases annually in the UK.
Is it serious for my pet if they get worms?
Parasites range form being trivial to fatal. For young, old and sick animals they pose more of a threat as their immune system is not as good as healthy adult animals.
Prevention is always better than cure
Giving a daily treatment to a pregnant dog with fenbendazole from the 40th day of pregnancy through to the 14th day of lactation can inhibit larvae in tissues and so prevent or reduce infection in puppies. If the mother didn’t have treatment in pregnancy then by 6 weeks old puppies and kittens will most likely have infections that will be contaminating the environment around them. Early treatment prevents this and there is a wide range of drugs on the market. Its always best to get these from your vet especially early on in your pets life so that you know you are given the correct treatment at the correct dose.
It is also worth knowing that some breeds are sensitive to some wormer’s. The drug Ivermectin which is used as a worming product can cause severe problems if given to Collies, Australian Shepherd dogs, Old English sheepdogs and Shetland sheepdogs. This is due to a recessive gene in these dogs and is another good reason to get products from your vets as they will be aware of these issues.