Worm Borne Diseases in Pets

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It is quite common for cats and dogs to get infected with external or internal parasites during their lifetime. There are different ways in which a parasite can affect a pet; this could range from just irritation to life-threatening diseases, in case left untreated.

Many pet owners make the mistake of assuming that their cat or dog is free of worms if they have normal stools i.e., without their presence. In reality, a microscopic examination of the animal’s feces is required to assess the worm situation accurately. This is why vets typically ask for stool samples when pets come in for their yearly visits. When parasites like roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, giardia, and whipworms are detected at an early stage, successful treatment is often successful. Common symptoms related to parasitic illness are reduced appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, “pot belly” and unhealthy hair coat.

Types Of Worms And Diseases

Some of the common worm infections in pets include the following:

Giardia: This is a parasite living in the animal’s intestines and causes severe diarrhea.

Hookworms: These could be any number of tiny parasitic worms residing in a dog’s intestine and drinking its blood, thus causing anemia. These worms have distinct hooked mouthparts that can get stuck to the host’s intestinal walls.

Heartworms: This is a worm that lives in the lungs and/or heart of cats and dogs and is transmitted via mosquitoes. The length of the adult worm could go up to 16 inches.

Lyme Disease: This bacterial disease is caused by certain organisms termed as ‘Borrelia’ and transmitted through western and eastern deer ticks (ticks with black legs). The disease can cause severe symptoms if left untreated.

Tapeworms: Numerous ribbon-like flat worms that live in the animal’s intestines.

Roundworms: These are one of the most common type of parasitic worms that are found in both cats and dogs. Adult roundworms typically find a home in the animal’s intestines. When an animal has severe roundworm infection, he will showcase symptoms like dull hair, weight loss, and a potbelly.

Treatment Of Worms In Pets

External parasites such as ticks and fleas are not very difficult to spot and pets often give away their presence by showing symptoms like chewing, scratching, and loss of hair. Intestinal parasites can be treated in several different ways. Most internal worm diseases are diagnosed with the help of stool samples and blood tests at the vet’s clinic. Treatment might include a dosage of liquids, powders, and pills, and will usually continue for about five to seven days, depending on each individual case. In certain cases, the vet might suggest repeating treatment in the gap of one and three months to destroy the parasite’s lifecycle completely.

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