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Parasites: Why dogs and cats need wormers

Parasites: Why dogs and cats need wormers

Parasites: Why dogs and cats need wormers

Dogs and cats are often plagued by worms. Get to grips with the problem by consistent treatment. That also protects humans.

Which worms are dogs and cats mostly involved in?

The most common worms are roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. “Increasingly spreading heartworms, which are transmitted via insects,” says veterinarian Klaus Kutschmann in Magdeburg. Dogs can also become infected with the fox tapeworm .

How do the animals get involved?

Infested animals excrete the worm eggs, larvae and sometimes worm parts with the feces. Sniffing, licking or eating infects other animals. Also when feeding with raw meat, the pets can be infected. Puppies can already have worms. “They become infected already in the womb or over the mother’s milk”, says the veterinarian Diederik Vogelezang from Usingen (Hesse).

How dangerous are parasites for the animals?

The worms stay in the gut and other internal organs of the animal. Healthy adult pets are not significantly affected by some worms in the body. However, severe worm infestations can be dangerous and lead, for example, to deficiency supply, inflammation and bleeding. Particularly endangered by worms are young, old and sick animals.

Should all dogs and cats be dewormed?

In any case. How big the intervals between the deworming depends on how the animal lives. Thus, the freedivers among the cats that catch mice and birds, a large risk of infection. The same is true for dogs that hunt, for example, often on busy dog food or eat the feces of other animals or carrion. But even pure domestic cats should be dewormed. “They too can become infected,” says Vogelezang. Because people can bring the eggs of roundworms with their shoes into the house.

At what intervals should worming be done?

The Association European Section on Parasites in Animals (ESCCAP) in Cologne advises regular worming between one and twelve times a year. Among the animals most frequently dewormed are hunting dogs and outdoor cats. If pets live with small children or sick people, they should also be dewormed every month, as recommended. Deworming every three months is enough, for example, for dogs that neither eat the remains of other animals nor carrion. For pure domestic cats it is enough to deworm once a year.

Can humans become infected?

Yes, especially roundworms can spread to humans and infect the internal organs there. Affected people can be treated with worm remedies. “Rare, but at the same time highly risky is an infection with the fox tapeworm,” says veterinarian Kutschmann. This can be life threatening. Depending on which organs it affects, different symptoms occur, for example shortness of breath, paralysis or seizures. Often the liver is affected, it can develop cirrhosis.

The animal is administered a paste or tablet. A worming cure works for about 24 hours. The worms, eggs and larvae are killed and excreted.

Are there any side effects?

Yes, but they are very rare. Possible is vomiting or a short diarrhea. Often, such a reaction is a sign of a strong worm infestation. “The existing parasites in the gut die and are rapidly transported outside,” says Sarah Ross of the animal welfare organization Four Paws in Hamburg.

How can a worm infestation be diagnosed?

This is possible via a droppings sample, for this purpose, keepers should collect a little droppings each three days in a row. However, this method is not one hundred percent sure. Thus, the result of a fecal sample can be negative, although the animal has worms. Because it takes several weeks for the worms to reproduce in the body and the eggs and larvae are eliminated.

Which symptoms show up in a worm infestation?

No symptoms need to be visible. An indication may be dull fur, pulpy feces or diarrhea are possible. Some affected animals sit on their butts and slip around because it itches there. “In the feces worm parts are often visible only in massive infestation,” explains Ross. Roundworms in the feces look like cooked spaghetti. The excreted parts of tapeworms are reminiscent of rice grains. The worm eggs and larvae are not visible to the naked eye.

How Expensive is a Worm Treatment?

Depending on the size of the animal, it costs between 5 and 15 euros. Veterinarians calculate about 20 to 25 euros for a fecal examination.

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