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Get worm wise

Roundworms © SmithKline Beecham 

Healthy looking animals can carry worms, so it’s important to worm pets regularly.

Worms can cause suffering, illness and even death. Some types of worms can be spread between pets and people and can cause diseases.

Recognising infection

  • Many infected animals do not show any outward signs, so it’s important to have a worm control programme in place as advised by your vet. 
  • But, if your animal is infected, you may see worms in faeces or vomit, or around your pet’s bottom.
  • If you do see any worms on or near your animal, wrap them up in damp cotton wool and take them to the vet.

Other symptoms

  • Your pet starts losing weight.
  • Their fur becoming dry and coarse, increased appetite, weakness and diarrhoea.
  • In severe cases, infected puppies and kittens can have a distended abdomen or ‘pot belly’.

Reducing risk

  • Maintain an effective worm control program. With pets being wormed against roundworm from a young age, and adult pets being treated against roundworms and tapeworms.
  • Prevent tapeworms by using a flea treatment regularly, as fleas can carry tapeworm eggs.
  • Disinfect food and water bowls regularly. You should also ensure housing is regularly cleaned and disinfected. Only use a disinfectant that is safe for animals.
  • Good pasture management is required horses, ponies, donkeys and rabbits, to prevent them from eating the larvae and eggs of worms. This may involve removing droppings and rotating which areas your animal has access to.
  • For rabbits, avoid collecting greens from areas where wild rabbits and rodents have been and if kept outside, place housing so that exposure to wild rabbits and rodents is minimised.
  • Pregnant animals should only be wormed under the supervision of a vet.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before you eat.
  • Clean up after your pet and dispose of faeces carefully.

Where do worms come from?

Animals can pick worms up in a variety of ways:

  • From other infected animals.
  • From eating the larvae or eggs of worms (e.g. in infected faeces or in grass).
  • From eating raw meat, infected prey animals or infected parasites.
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