Pets, especially the younger ones require deworming before they are brought home. Deworming refers to eliminating parasites like roundworms and tapeworms from the body of young pets by giving them an anthelmintic drug like a drench or wormer. Although there are several arguments regarding deworming for pets, nobody can deny the fact that parasites are a great risk to their lives.
These passengers search for ideal hosts like dogs and cats to pave their way in. Once entered their body, they take no time to transfer to the human family. Sometimes, it also becomes the reason why pets are short-lived. Caresses like dogs and cats often have the habit of mouthing things. If they are infected with such worms, their company can pass it on to other guests and playmates.
As an owner, one must have all knowledge about deworming for pets. For those who are new to this topic, here is a detailed article on the dos and don’ts of deworming.
What is the importance of deworming?
Different parasites develop through a different cycle. The most common way for them to enter the body of a caress (mostly cats and dogs) is by swallowing the eggs of the parasites ejected by them in their stool.
Deworming for pets is a public issue and requires proper concern. Thus, it is important to flush out the parasites from the body before it gets the chance to transmit themselves onto another holder. Longer stay for the parasites in the body of the pets can affect its vital organs. While the symptoms are less obvious in the case of adult animals, younger ones can develop disorders like vomiting, diarrhoea and growth stunting.
There are different types of worms that are common in pets. These are:
- Flatworms: It includes tapeworms that are about 60cm long in height. The flatworm named Dipylidium caninum is the worst parasite in dogs and cats and is mostly transmitted by fleas.
- Roundworms: Roundworms are found in pets since birth. They exist in the digestive tracts of the pets where they lay eggs. After they are ejected from the body, these eggs survive for only few months or years before a puppy or a kitten mistakenly ingests them.
What are the signs that confirm deworming for pets?
Before taking one’s pet for deworming, an owner must be aware of the various situations that can cause it. What parasites are present in the area? Are they seasonal or occur all year round? Such points should be noted down before bringing a pet home. Owners must also be aware of the various parasites that can pose a threat to one’s cat or dog. Sometimes, the parasites possessed by the pet can be infectious for a member of the family. Therefore, such things should also be taken into consideration.
Signs that confirm that your pet needs deworming include:
- Finding worms in the stool of pets: The simplest way to find out if your pet needs deworming is by checking its stool. The stool may contain worms that look like spaghetti or rice.
- Visible pieces of worms crawling on the body: Sometimes, worms are found in the fur of the pet, especially in the tail. These are usually tapeworms that appear like moving bits around the back of the tail. Thus, once you find them, you know exactly what you have to do.
- Ingesting grass and soil: Baby pets, like kittens and puppies often swallow grass out of stress or boredom. They might even start licking anything they find close by. This can be due to the irritation caused by the worms present inside their stomach. Even the dirt that is collected in the pet’s eyes can also be a symptom of deworming.
- Pets itch themselves for a longer period: Sometimes, having parasites in the body of the pet can make them itchy. They might start scratching and rubbing their entire body over and over again. However, the itching can also be the result of allergies.
- They develop a dull coat: Pets, especially dogs are always found with beautiful shiny coats. But, in case you see your dog’s coat becoming dull and dry, it is a point of concern. The reason for such unhealthy hair can be because the fur has picked up some kind of worms from outside. As a result, they might also start acting in a less active way than the usual.
- Having an enlarged belly and a constant urge to eat: This is one of the most common signs that show deworming for pets. Usually, younger puppies and kittens are more prone to such symptoms. In certain cases, a bloated abdomen in a dog or cat can be caused by a serious condition called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus. Such situations need immediate measures. As an owner, if you find your pet with an increased appetite or an enlarged abdomen, it is wise to take them to a veterinarian.
- Vomiting, weight loss and Diarrhoea: If you find your pet vomiting frequently or is affected with diarrhoea several times, you must immediately fix an appointment with your consultant. A sudden weight loss of the pet can also occur for many reasons, worm infestation being one of them. As a result, it might also start showing signs of weakness too.
- Flea infestation:
Pets that are affected by fleas have a great chance of being affected by tapeworms as well. While scratching themselves, pets can ingest the fleas, which in turn can result in tapeworm.
What is the process for deworming for pets?
Deworming for pets, especially dogs and cats involves a set of rules. Without a proper method, it might be difficult to successfully carry out the process. Although the worms can be treated through different methods, the transmission can continue in the form of nursing, skin penetration and oral ingestions.
The steps for deworming for pets include:
- Confirming the type and count of worm: Worms like tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms are the type of worms that exist in the intestines of pets. Thus, it is the first place for you to look. You can scoop your pet’s poop and take it to your vet to ensure if there are any worm eggs in the intestine.
Sometimes, worms are also present in the blood vessels, heart and lungs. They are long-foot worms that can cause serious health issues or at other times, the death of the animal. Do a regular check up of the worm count as well. A regular check up ensures the right medication at the right time.
- Making way for the worms to move out: Deworming for pets is very necessary if you want them safe and happy. Your veterinarian will provide some medicines that, even though, are harmful to pests; will keep your dog healthy. These medicines are also called ‘broad-spectrum’ due to their ability to kill numerous parasites together.
Worms are very common in dogs. Therefore, deworming for pets is necessary before the mother starts nursing or else the worm might pass onto the baby. The first dose of this process would kill any existing worm and the second dose would kill the ones that have newly hatched from their eggs.
- Getting rid of heartworms: In case, your pet (dog) has heartworms in its blood, immediate treatment should be done. These tests are costlier ($1000) but highly effective than other deworming tests.
The pet is given a total of three shots within 2 months. While dying, these heartworms break into smaller pieces and block the blood flowing from the heart to the lungs. Thus, it requires the pet to stay calm during this period. With more activity, the heart might need to pump more blood which in turn can cause kill the animal.
- Searching for preventive measures: It is not always possible to carry out the deworming process at regular intervals. Therefore, one must try to prevent the occurrence of parasites as much as possible.
Protecting one’s pet from fleas and mosquitoes is the best way to keep one’s yard worm-free. You can also follow certain steps that should be done once in a while.
- Get a regular check-up for worms for your pet every year.
- Keep the surroundings of your pet clean
- Wash your hand after dealing with your pet’s waste.
How often should deworming for pets be done?
In general, pets should be dewormed every two weeks till they reach the age of twelve. Once they complete this course, they should be dewormed monthly till six months of age. However, there are several other guidelines proposed by different parasite councils regarding the process.
According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), deworming should be done every month depending on the duration of the activity of the drug used. This way the treatment becomes user-friendly and easy for owners to remember.
On the other hand, the European Scientific Council Companion Animal Parasites (ESCCAP) provides a different approach. According to them, deworming for pets should be done four times a year. They believe that this process does not allow the increase of parasite levels in pets.
Finally, the Canadian Parasite Expert Panel believes that this treatment should be done based on fecal examination results. For houses that are at a lower risk for parasites, exposure need not opt for deworming. In case, the fecal examination results are not well, one can perform this test once or twice a year.
What are the common mistakes that people make while deworming?
Owners can sometimes make mistakes regarding the process of deworming. Missing out steps can have adverse effects on the pet. Some of the common mistakes while deworming for pets are:
- Forgetting that the second dose for deworming should be administered within 15 days of the first dose. In case one is careless about this factor, the first shot will become ineffective
- The dose of the medicine is determined by the weight of the pet. Thus, using an anti-parasitic without realising the actual weight can lead to an underdose or overdose of your pet.
- Owners might think that using anti-parasitics, eliminates all kinds of parasites present in the body of the pet. This is not the picture in many cases. Different processes are suggested by veterinarians to treat different parasites. Thus, it is a big misconception when people think that one parasitic is enough to kill all worms.
- Owners often administer the medicine orally to their pets without ensuring that they have swallowed it. Thus, pets can easily spit out the medicine in their owner’s absence.
Worms may or may not be visible to the naked eye, but it does not mean that they do not exist. Therefore, a regular veterinary check-up is very essential for your pet. These worms can get highly infectious to people, especially children, pregnant women and diabetic patients. Thus, if your pet is found with worms, it is better to keep them away from other people living in the house till they are properly treated.
Q. What is the cost of Deworming for pets in India?
In India, the cost of deworming of pets is ₹400-₹600.
Q. Can pets be still affected by worms after deworming?
Worms may have excluded the pet’s body, but they still keep on existing. Therefore, there is always a chance for pets to be infected with worms that are transmitted from outside for humans.
Q. Will my pet still keep on pooping worms after deworming?
Pets usually stop pooping worms within two-three days of deworming. However, dead worms might still be present in the poop for a week after the deworming process.
Q. Can deworming for pets be done at home?
If you find symptoms of deworming in pets, you can treat them with a few home remedies. Food items like papaya, coconut, turmeric, etc. are useful for treating worms at home. But, if the problem still persists, you are recommended to take them to the nearest vet.