Intestinal worms and how to protect your family

We only need to look at the faces of our children as they snuggle up with Bramble or play chase with him to know that getting a dog was absolutely the right decision for our family.  Having grown up with dogs myself and owning four dogs in adulthood, I know the pleasure and depth of unconditional love they bring.  However, owning dogs (and cats) comes with great responsibility, not only for them but for the health and safety of your family too so worming pets is of paramount importance.

Family pet

Intestinal Worms

Whilst your pet is happily rolling around on the floor, snuggling on your child’s bed or curling up in the ironing basket have you considered that they could be leaving you with more than just a warm feeling and a few stray hairs?  Did you know that intestinal worms can grow up to 16ft long in your pet’s intestine and be undetected until the pet becomes so ill as a result?

Invisible worms, visible symptoms

Hidden within the intestines you might not see them, but those worms can cause symptoms you will notice;

  • weight loss
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • lethargy
  • anaemia
  • loss of appetite
  • dull coat
  • scooting (dragging their bottom across the floor)

Puppies and kittens will also present a distended ‘pot belly’.

How do pets get intestinal worms?

Family pet

From their Mum – a female dog can pass a roundworm infection to their puppies before they are born which means that almost all pups can have a roundworm infection at birth.

Contact with infected animal faeces – typical animal nature dictates that when your dog or cat goes out and about they will sniff their way around to see what other animals have been in their ‘territory’.  They will dig, they will eat random things they find and if they come into contact with worm eggs from infected animal faeces then they will likely become infected themselves.

Eating mice, birds or rabbits – some cats and dogs just can’t help themselves but this puts them at greater risk of catching intestinal worms.

The risk to your family

Did you know that some types of intestinal worm can be transmitted from animals to humans?  The dog roundworm, Toxocara canis and cat roundworm, Toxocara cati can be passed to humans and live in their intestines.  Young children are at the greatest risk but all humans are at risk of swallowing microscopic worm eggs if they come into contact with a contaminated pet or environment where the pet has been (garden, carpets, beds and/or clothing).

Protection made simple

Family Pet

Thankfully there is something very simple that you can do to protect your pets and your family.  The recommendation is that you worm pets every 3 months as a minimum, particularly in families with small children.  Toxocara, the common roundworm can complete its’ lifecycle in as little as one month.  By treating pets at a minimum of 3 months reduces the risk of shedding infected eggs into the pets’ environment.  The eggs are what present the biggest threat to humans, especially children, with extreme cases known to cause problems with vision and even blindness.  By regularly worming your pets you increase the chance of your pet (and family) staying worm free.

Remember:

  • Treat your pet and help protect your whole family
  • Use a worm treatment at least every three months (or monthly in case of small children living with the family) and to do that I’d recommend Drontal against intestinal worms. For more information about parasite prevention: drontalandadvantage.co.uk
  • Drontal has been clinically-proven to kill every kind of intestinal worm commonly found in UK cats and dogs
  • All dogs can get worms – the only way to guarantee peace of mind is to treat regularly
  • Trust Drontal to beat intestinal worms

Useful information can be found here:

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