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Deworming Dogs and Cats

Posted June 15, 2015

Spring’s in full swing and summer is almost here… ‘tis the season for all things icky to be gobbled, sniffed, and licked by your curious little pet! Since worms and parasites can live in all those lovely things, like dead rodents, dirt, and poop, that your dog or cat may stop to investigate on their walks, we thought it was a good time to highlight the importance of getting your pet checked for worms.

In fact, dogs and cats should be checked by your veterinarian for worms at least twice a year; puppies, kittens, and outdoor cats should be checked several times a year. Infection is diagnosed by testing fecal samples. If left untreated worms can cause severe health problems for pets, including damage to the digestive tract, blood loss, and malabsorption. Some worm infections can also affect humans, so it is vital to test your pet regularly for worms even if you do not necessarily suspect an issue.

Symptoms of worms in cats or dogs are:

  • Diarrhea with mucous
  • Constipation
  • Spaghetti-like strings in a cat’s feces or vomit
  • Coughing
  • Poor growth or weight loss
  • Bloody stools
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Distended or swollen abdomen
  • Dull coat
  • Worms in feces

To treat worms in your pet, your veterinarian may recommend an oral deworming agent. For natural treatment of worms, we like NHV Inulin PK for cats or dogs which contains antimicrobial anti-parasitic herbs like wormwood, oregon grape, and elecampane to help fight parasites without the adverse side effects. The herbs in Inulin-PK have been used in herbal medicines for thousands of years; it can be used twice a year and is excellent for use in preventative care. This powerful herbal remedy can be used alone— as a safe alternative to traditional medicine, or in conjunction with pharmaceuticals as additional support.

While treating worms we strongly advise the use of Milk Thistle for dogs or Milk Thistle for cats to help support the liver from parasite damage and any pharmaceutical affects. As worms can deplete your pet’s energy and prevent the body from absorbing nutrients, we also recommend the use of Multi Essentials for cats or dogs, which will work to fill any nutritional voids.

Below you will find a helpful chart of common parasitic worms that affect dogs or cats.

If you have any questions, or need any holistic pet advise just ask!

Parasite What Is It? Common Modes of Transmission Health Effects Effects on Humans
Roundworms in Cats

Roundworms in Dogs
Adult roundworm live in the stomach and intestine and can grow up to seven inches. Through ingestion of eggs in feces.
Through larvae passed through placenta or milk
Affects intestines and can migrate to the liver, bloodstream, and lungs. Can affect children. Can affect people with weakened immune system. Human infection can appear in the brain, eye, or other organs.
Hookworms in Cats

Hookworms in Dogs
Small worms that live in the intestine of their host. They have teeth-like mouth parts that allow them to attach to intestinal wall where they feed off the host’s blood. Through ingestion of eggs in feces.

Through larvae passed through placenta or milk
Damage to digestive tract.
Loss of nutrients.

One species of hookworms (anclostoma tubaeforme) can cause fatal blood loss in
Skin lesions or infections in people with a weakened immune system.
Tapeworms in Cats

Tapeworms in Dogs
Flat, segmented worms that live in the small intestine. Through ingestion of secondary hosts (like fleas or prey animals like mice). Loss of nutrients. People can get tapeworms but it is usually from eating undercooked meat.
Heartworm in Cats

Heartworm in Dogs
A small thread-like worm. Through infected mosquitoes, especially in southeastern USA Heartworms can stress the heart, blood vessels, and lungs and cause sudden respiratory distress when they die inside the host. On occasion, people can get heartworms after being bitten by an infected mosquito. But since people are not a natural host for heartworm, the larvae die before they become adult worms.

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