Intestinal Worms

There are two broad categories of worms that may affect our pet dogs and cats, intestinal worms and heartworms.  Please see our heartworm page for more information.

Intestinal Worms

Worming is one of the first health care issues pet owners need to address as pups and kittens are the most susceptible. As their name suggests, intestinal worms are parasites that live inside your pet’s intestines. These worms range in size from small to surprisingly large (up to 18cm in length). Regardless of their size however, they all have negative, and potentially deadly effects.

Most species of animal, as well as humans, can be infected with intestinal worms including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, fish, birds and reptiles.

Common intestinal worms in Australian pets are:

  • Roundworm

  • Tapeworm

  • Whipworm

  • Hookworm

Worming Protocols:

Dogs - Puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until they are 6 months old and then every 3 months. Dogs eating offal should be wormed every 6 weeks to prevent infections with tapeworm.

Cats - Kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until they are 6 months old and then every 3 months.

Pigs - Growing pigs should be treated at 8 weeks and then every 2 months until maturity. Sows and gilts should be treated 7 - 14 days prior to farrowing. Gilts should also be treated 7-14 days before going to the boar. All adult pigs should be wormed every 6 months, and if possible moved to a clean enclosure.

Alpacas - There are no preventatives or treatments for worms registered in alpacas therefore feel free to contact us for worming advise.

Goats - 

  1. Managing worms in intensively housed goats is very difficult yet critical to their health.

  2. Housing goats warm conditions often requires frequent drenching (3-4 weeks in warm weather) with products containing effective drugs, and these must be rotated each time to a product which contains a different type of drug.

  3. Consult your vet for advice on what products to use, when, and the dose needed for goats.

  4. Monitor goats using the Famacha chart for anaemia, and observe for scours/weightloss regularly

Sheep - Lambs should be wormed at approximately 8 weeks of age and again every 4-8 weeks until a year of age. Ewes should be wormed 2 - 4 weeks prior to lambing. Ewes and rams should be drenched 2-4 times a year.

Horses - Foals should be drenched from 6 weeks of age and then every 4 weeks until 6 months of age. Pregnant mares should be treated just prior to foaling, however make sure the drench is safe to use in pregnant mares. Drenching may be required as often as every 6-8 weeks or as little as twice a year depending on environment, the individual animal and the drench used.

Cattle - 

Animal Time of treatment
Mature cows Near freshening
Bulls Spring and Autumn
Calves 3-4 months of age
Replacements Weaning/purchase then every 3-4 months until yearlings
Yearlings Spring and Autumn until mature

If your pet has a large number of worms it may find it difficult to maintain body condition and it can lose weight. In some cases it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even anaemia (a low red blood cell level). Occasionally, heavy intestinal worm burdens can cause death.

Worms sometimes have complex lifecycles which involve a period of existence and development outside your pet. Understanding the life cycle of a specific worm is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented.  For instance, some tapeworms need to pass through fleas to complete their lifecycle, so flea prevention is an important method of controlling tapeworms.

It is important to maintain a routine worming treatment for your pets, to reduce the incidence of infection and to reduce environmental contamination. There are many worming treatments available for the various worm infections that occur in our pets.These are available as tablets, spot-ons, or pastes. Re-infection is a common problem, particularly in pets that are in contact with a heavily contaminated environment. Another very important reason to worm your pets is to protect your family; as children in particular can become infected with certain dog and cat worms.

Below are some tips to consider regarding worm prevention:

  • Promptly clean up pet faeces

  • Practice good hygiene, always encourage children to wash their hands regularly (especially after playing in dirt or sandpits, playing with pets or prior to eating)

  • Prevent children from playing where the soil may be contaminated

  • Keep your pet's environment clean

  • Always dispose of dog faeces in public parks and playgrounds

Please call us to discuss an intestinal worming program for your pet.

INTESTINAL WORMS ARE ZOONOTIC = WE CAN GET WORMS OFF OUR PETS