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There are many different intestinal worms which can need to be controlled to keep your pet and family safe and healthy

Cats and dogs can be infected with worms in many ways. These infections can harm pets and in some cases affect their owners as well. It is best to routinely treat each pet for worms. The frequency of treatment depends on pet’s lifestyle.

Young pets up to 6 months old Every Month
Close contact with children Every Month
Contact with people with weak immunity (immune-compromised) Every Month
New young pets at home Every Month
Goes outside to parks or pet shop regularly Every Month
Occasional walks outdoors Every 3 months
Lives indoors only no outside contact Every 6 Months

The problem

Dogs and cats can harbor a variety of intestinal worms. It is thought that about 40% of dogs and cats carry these worms. There are effective methods to protect your pet and family home against these parasites. At HHVC we can provide an individual worm and Heartworm control program to suit your pet and your family.

Roundworms (Toxocara)

Most puppies are born with roundworms, and kittens can get roundworms from their mother's milk soon after birth. It is very important that your puppy or kitten is treated monthly to eliminate these intestinal parasites. Left untreated, affected animals can suffer from slowed growth, stomach upsets, pneumonia, immunosupression, and sometimes even death.

Adult dogs and cats can be infected by walking in places where other animals have defecated. The eggs can stick to animal fur and even human clothing, bringing these parasites into your home. The eggs are ingested when the pet licks its fur.

Children can become infected with roundworm if an infected pet licks your child or your child handles or ingests anything contaminated with traces of animal faeces. Dogs and cats that are in close contact with children should be given an effective roundworm treatment every month. Roundworm infection in children can in rare cases cause liver damage, asthma and even blindness.

Tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum)

Tapeworms are transmitted by fleas. When a dog or cat grooms itself it can swallow a flea, which contains a tapeworm egg. The egg is released in the stomach. The tapeworm hooks on to the wall of the intestine and can grow to 6 inches long. It has many small segments in its body. After less than three weeks the tail segments start to break off and pass out of your pet's anus onto the skin or stool. Each segment is full of eggs, can move and is the size of a grain of rice. It dries up and the eggs are released. The eggs are eaten by larval fleas, and the cycle begins again.

Tapeworms cause anal irritation and will deprive your pet of nutrients, resulting in weight loss and general weakness.

Other tapeworms

Tapeworms can infect pets that eat uncooked meat. This includes infected beef, pork and prey animals such as mice. In very rare cases these worms can cause serious disease in humans. Prevention or regular treatment is the best approach

Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis)

The whipworm that affects dogs is about 40mm in length and lives in the large intestine. Dogs typically pick up the worms outdoors, where the eggs can stick to the dog's coat. The eggs are ingested during grooming and hatch in the dog's small intestine, releasing immature worms (larvae). These larvae move into the large intestine with digested food. Here they burrow into the tissue and suck blood. It takes around 80 days for the larvae to mature into whipworms and start to reproduce. Eggs are laid and pass out with the dog's faeces. Outside the dog the eggs take 4 weeks to develop and start infecting new dogs.

If a dog has a large number of these whipworms they can cause bloody, sticky diarrhoea. The worms can also cause intermittent weakness, with loss of salt and severe dehydration.

Hookworm (Ancylostoma and Uncinaria)

Although these worms are very small, only about 15mm long, they are bloodsuckers and can lead to extreme stress or even death by blood loss. 300 adult hookworms can drain 10% of a pet's blood per day.

Kittens or puppies may be born with hookworms. They can pass through the placenta into the lungs. After birth the young hookworms are coughed up and swallowed. They mature in the small intestine, attaching to the intestinal wall and suck blood. Young animals can also become infected through their mother's milk.

Adult dogs and cats can be infected with hookworms from the environment. As your pet walks by, the heat from the body excites the larvae, which can bore through the skin and then pass into the blood vessels and travel to the lungs. They are coughed up, swallowed and mature in the intestine feeding on blood and laying eggs. Hookworm saliva stops the blood clotting at the site the hookworm attaches to. If the worm moves, the first site may continue to bleed, sometimes seriously. The eggs are passed in the faeces. When the ground is moist the larvae will hatch from the eggs. The larvae can live for many weeks without food.

Hookworms can result in diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, emaciation, pneumonia and poor growth. In extreme cases, severe anemia can even lead to death.

Hookworms can infect people. By walking through contaminated soil, or not washing vegetables thoroughly, you are exposing yourself to risk of infestation. This is one reason why it is always important to clean up your dogs' faeces.

Treatments for Worm infections

There are a many different products for treatment and prevention against worms. At HHVC we can advise you on the best regime for your family and pet depending on the type of animal and the lifestyle you lead.

Young puppies and kittens should be treated once a month. Adult dogs in frequent contact with children or regularly going outdoors, visiting pet shops or parks should be treated once a month. A pet that has no contact with other animals is at lower risk of infection and can be treated less often, however twice a year is a sensible minimum.

The intestinal de-wormers sold at HHVC treat all the major intestinal worms encountered in Hong Kong. We use the most effective newer medicines that are less likely to cause unpleasant side effects such as diarrhoea. This is very important when controlling parasites that can cause serious disease in your pet and yourself! Less expensive products are available but they have disadvantages and may not be as effective.

Roundworm treatments
  • Panacur (fenbendazole) is a liquid medicine for easy use in kittens and puppies. It also kills worm eggs.
  • Revolution (selamectin) is a spot on treatment which also controls many other internal and external parasites. It is very easy to use and comes in packs of 3 or 6 doses.
Combined or Multi-Wormers

These products treat round and tapeworms and are good for adult pets

  • Milbemax (milbemycin) is a small tablet used in small dogs and cats.
  • Popantel (praziquantel) is a larger tablet for medium to large breed dogs.
  • Profender (emodepside and praziquantel) is an effective all round de-wormer for cats, that is applied to the back of the neck. It is excellent for cats that are difficult to give pills to.
Worm control is an essential part of keeping your pet healthy. It is important to use the correct treatments for different pets at different stages of their lives. The vets and nurses at HHVC will help you choose the most appropriate products for worm control in your home because we care for what matters.
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