Intestinal worms are relatively common in many animal species, including dogs, cats, rabbits, large animals, fish, reptiles and birds. Regular deworming is essential to ensure your pets remain healthy and to reduce the risk of some of these worms being transmitted to people.
Puppies and kittens are often the most susceptible to worm infestation. Intestinal worms spread via dog faeces so can be picked up anywhere from the backyard to the dog park. Puppies and kittens sometimes arrive at their new owner’s home with worms already present. In very young dogs, or if present in high numbers, intestinal worms can cause gastrointestinal disease, malnutrition and anaemia. Sometimes there may be no obvious signs that your dog has intestinal worms.
Frequent deworming will kill worms that are present, but it is effortless for your pet to become re-infested, so it is critical to continue deworming your pet all year round. Some intestinal worm species can produce large numbers of eggs. For example, roundworm can lay 200,000 eggs per day within five weeks of infestation. It is important to maintain a regular deworming program for your pets to reduce eggs being shed into the environment.
The short answer is yes. Many worms infesting dogs are zoonotic, meaning they are spread from animals to humans. Different worms cause different diseases, and each has its own symptoms. Whilst anyone can become infected by intestinal worms, children and the immunocompromised are at greater risk. One of the most important ways to reduce human exposure is the regular deworming of pets.
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