• The Dangers of Worms

    It’s the ultimate gross out — the thought that your dog or cat has worms and that you and your family are at risk, too. What’s difficult is that the symptoms of worms aren’t really something you notice until the infestation is in full swing. By finding out more about worms and the dangers to your pets, you’ll understand what to look for — and take action.

    Causes of worm infections

    Typically, the method for transmitting worms is similar for all worms. This can include ingesting contaminated soil, eating an infected animal or passing from mother to pup or kitten across the placenta or while nursing.

    In the case of a hookworm, infection can occur through contact with the larvae through skin or feet. Tapeworms can be spread when a dog or cat eats an infected flea. Eating earthworms, beetles, fleas or other intermediate hosts can infect cats.

    Symptoms of worm infections

    The problems worms cause in dogs and cats are related to the area of the intestines that each of the worms latches on to and the way they usurp your pet’s blood and vital nutrients. As a result, the symptoms will vary with the type of worm that has found its way to your pet.

    Roundworm symptoms:

    • Pot-bellied appearance in young puppies
    • Failure to thrive or gain weight
    • Listless
    • Poor hair/coat condition
    • Diarrhea or constipation
    • Vomiting

    Hookworm symptoms:

    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Anemia
    • Vomiting
    • Decreased or no appetite
    • Dehydration

    Whipworm symptoms:

    • Diarrhea
    • Bloody stools
    • Weight loss
    • Poor general health
    • Severe infections can cause electrolyte imbalance

    Tapeworm symptoms:

    • Pets typically do not show symptoms
    • “Scooting: on their bottoms
    • Intestinal or abdominal discomfort
    • Intestinal blockage where large numbers of worms are present, especially in young animals
    • Tapeworm segments, which look like grains of rice, may appear in the fur under your pet’s tail