Ticks & Worms

Along with the warm weather and sunny days, spring brings a few health hazards. Every year we like to remind our clients of their health checklist for the season. From bacteria diseases spread through urine or ticks to worms and other parasites, see if you have your furry friend covered before you muddy, sunny adventures begin.

Intestinal Worms

How they are contracted

Dogs and cats can get intestinal worms by eating stool that has parasite eggs in it. These eggs are microscopic and can be left behind after the stool has broken down, so your pet can still pick up parasites by eating grass or soil that has been contaminated. The eggs hatch and become adult worms in the intestines. In the case of tapeworms, another kind of intestinal worm, the eggs are picked up by an animal such as a rodent or flea. The egg hatches in that animal. When your dog or cat eats that animal, the tapeworm becomes an adult in your dog or cat’s intestines. This applies to cat and dogs that hunt, get into things in the woods or groom a flea off of their coat.


– Can lead to poor growth in puppies
– Soft stool
– Blood in stool


Pets with worms do not always show signs, so regular deworming is recommended, but some pets have soft stool, or you may see blood. When animals come to the veterinary hospital with these signs and are not dewormed regularly, the first step we take is to deworm the pet. Animals with tapeworm may have tiny white ovals on their stool or stuck to their anus. These look like small white seeds. If a cat or dog has a lot of worms in their system, they may vomit worms at some point.

How to prevent/treat
There are many monthly deworming products available. For dogs, there are pills and topical treatments. For cats, there are several topical treatments. Often the topical treatments prevent fleas as well. The only exception is the treatment for tapeworm, which only comes in a pill. While these products only last for one month, even deworming every 2 to 3 months is helpful.


How one acquires a tick
Ticks sit on the long grass waiting for a dog or cat to walk by. Ticks then grab on and walk around until they find a feeding site. Usually, you cannot feel that a tick has attached. It is believed ticks take a day or two to feed and transmit disease.

Ticks carry many diseases, including the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

These can vary depending on the disease the tick has transmitted. If your dog seems unwell and you know they have had a tick, contact your veterinarian.

Examples include
– lameness or joint pain
– coughing or laboured breathing
– vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite
– lethargy

How to prevent and treat

Treatment depends on the disease and can include intravenous fluids and hospitalization along with antibiotics. There is a vaccine for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. There are also monthly preventatives for ticks and a chewable tablet that lasts for three months. These products are for dogs. Talk to your vet about the best vaccine schedule and parasite prevention plan for your cat or dog. Then get out there and shake off that winter funk.

Written by Baleigh McWade Technician