Deworming is an essential component in giving your pet a long and healthy life. A worm infection should never be taken lightly as it can lead to death and possibly spread to humans. Zoonotic worms like roundworms and hookworms can spread between different species. Your pet can also become infected with other worms such as tapeworms, heartworms, and whipworms. Pets need to be on a year-round prevention plan to stay protected.
How are worms diagnosed in pets?
Worms can be diagnosed through blood tests, stool examinations, and other physical exams. Our veterinarians use a blood antigen test to detect heartworms in your pet. When heartworms mature inside your pet, they release heartworm proteins that can be identified in their blood. We collect your pet’s stool sample to diagnose all other worms using a microscope. Tapeworms, however, can be seen with the naked eye.
What are signs my pet has worms?
Pets don’t always show signs of a worm infection. In many cases, signs of worms become visible when the infection is advanced, and the number of worms has dramatically increased. For this reason, regular testing is essential. The signs to look out for include:
- Blood in stool
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive coughing
The longer worms are left untreated, the more damage they cause to your pet. Worms will cause nutrient deficiencies, organ damage, and death in severe cases.
When should my pet be dewormed?
Generally, kittens and puppies should start deworming medication when they are 2 weeks to 1-month-old and continue until they are 3-months-old. It’s important to start early because they can get worms from their mother. When your pet is mature, they should be dewormed every 3 months.
Is deworming necessary for indoor pets?
Yes, pets who stay indoors need to be dewormed. Your pet can still become infected with worms from other animals inside the home. Some pets will also jump at the opportunity to go outside through an opened door or window. It’s better to give them protection before they become infected.