Does my pet have worms?

THE ANSWER may well be yes - many dogs and cats have worms at some stage in their lives!

Worms can cause a variety of signs including a dull coat, swelling of the stomach, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and occasionally chest problems.

There are two major types of worms - roundworms and tapeworms.


These can grow up to 18 cm in length, and live in the intestines. They shed thousands of eggs in the pet's faeces, infecting the environment. The eggs can remain dormant in the environment, for years, waiting to be accidentally eaten either by your pet - or a child.

In children they may cause potentially permanent eye damage. It is for this reason that we have a responsibility to both regularly treat our pets with wormers and clean up after our pets.

Typical roundworms : e.g. Toxocara canis


These live in the intestines and can grow up to five metres in length. They have a more complex life cycle - outlined below.

The adult tapeworm sheds segments in the faeces; these segments in turn lay eggs, which are then ingested by an intermediate host.

These include fleas, and small mammals (typically mice).

The intermediate host swallows the tapeworm eggs, which develop into larvae inside the intermediate host.

Eating an infected intermediate host infects your pet - cats catch infected mice, and dogs and cats frequently swallow fleas.



Lungworm larvae are carried by slugs, snails and frogs. If your dog comes in contact with an infected garden pest it can become infected. During 2013 we had several confirmed cases of lungworm two of which proved fatal. Infected dogs can expel the larvae in their faeces.

We now recommend monthly treatment as routine prevention with other flea and worm treatments. Please check that the products you use protect your pet.

To summarise, there are just three simple rules:-

  •     Regular worming
  •     Use flea control
  •     Clean up faeces

We have simple and effective wormers for both tapeworms, roundworms and lungworms and we are happy to advise you on the most effective form of worm control for your pet.