Pets getting worms is a very common thing, and generally an easy fix.
Here are some signs that your pet may require a dewormer:
- If you see worms in the stool – it is common to be able to see worms or fragments of worms in the stool. This is the most obvious sign that your pet needs a dewormer, many worms look like spaghetti or rice.
- If you see worms or pieces of worms in the fur – particularly around the back end, or the tail of your pet. It is common for tapeworm segments, especially to look like little moving bits around the hind end. Tapeworm segments look like little pieces of rice.
- Scratching or rubbing their hind end – worms coming out or being present can make some pets itchy. Itching and scooting their rear end can also be caused by other issues, such as anal glands that are too full, or allergies.
- Worms noted in vomit – some pets, especially if they have a lot of worms, will begin to vomit them up.
- Enlarged belly – this is especially common in puppies and kittens with worms. If your adult dog has a bloated looking abdomen, this can be caused by a very serious and life-threatening condition called Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV). You should contact your veterinarian right away to be sure it is not something more serious than worms.
- Increased appetite and constant hunger – this is a tough one because it is a symptom of a lot of different problems with pets. It can also be a sign of worms too.
- Weakness – this can also be a sign of other problems, as well as a sign of a large worm infestation.
- Weight loss – again, this can be a sign of a multitude of different problems, but also a sign of a large worm infestation. Worms steal nutrition from the host, which can lead to weight loss in your pet.
- Diarrhea – sometimes you also may notice blood in diarrhea. If diarrhea is occurring, you should book an appointment with your vet to get them checked out and bring a stool sample from your pet with you so that your veterinary team can do a fecal test to look for worms, as well as different bacteria and protozoans.
- If your pet has fleas – if your pet has a flea infestation, there is a very good chance they also have a tapeworm. When a pet with fleas scratches and grooms themselves, they can ingest the fleas which can lead to the tapeworm.
If you suspect your pet may have worms, please contact your veterinarian. They can help you determine which dewormer is best for your particular pet. There are many different types of worms out there, and not every dewormer kills every type of worm, so they may need to do a fecal test, or ask you about the symptoms your pet has. There are also some dewormers that are classified as over the counter products, and others that by law, a veterinary clinic must have seen the pet within the last year to be able to dispense. Your veterinary healthcare team is always more than happy to discuss all the options with you, and help you make the right choices for your pet.
Written by Mikaila Cariou, RVT