Over the years, deworming your pet has become a practice that most veterinarians have considered to be standard protocol. However, recent studies have been putting the practice into question and are beginning to question if routine deworming is actually doing more harm than good in many cases.
So, how do you know if it’s really necessary to deworm your pet? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think, but we’ll break it down for you here so you can make an informed decision about whether or not your pet needs the treatment.
What Are Worms?
Worms are typically parasites that are transmitted through fecal matter or bites. Some worms can also be transmitted by eating uncooked food containing infected cysts such as pork, beef, or fruits and vegetables which have been touched by the hands of someone who is carrying the worm.
There are several types of worms that affect humans, including roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and more. A few examples include pinworm (feline), whipworm (human), roundworm (canine), and ringworm (human).
There are a variety of treatments for different types of worms, but it’s important to know your pet’s specific type in order to choose the right treatment.
If you suspect your pet has worms, there are a few ways to find out if they do: feces analysis; blood test; urinalysis; fecal flotation test. The most common way to tell if your pet has worms is through a fecal flotation test.
To perform this test, the veterinarian will usually ask you to collect one stool sample from your pet and then put it into a jar with water or other liquid so that the parasite eggs float to the top.
The eggs will often appear as clumps at first before breaking apart into individual strands over time.
What Happens If My Dog or Cat Has Worms?
Having worms can affect many areas of your pet’s health and happiness. Not only are worms painful for your dog or cat, but they can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and reduced appetite.
If left untreated for long periods of time, it can lead to serious organ damage or even death. Furthermore, if a pregnant woman is infected with roundworms, her unborn baby may develop complications such as stillbirths, blindness, deafness, and intellectual disabilities.
On the other hand, deworming pets might not be the best idea in some cases. There is some evidence that infestation with certain parasites may be protective against allergies, Dr. Alice Shawver said.
She cited one study involving mice exposed to whipworms at an early age who showed less allergy-related inflammation than mice not exposed to the parasites.
But more research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn about whether this would work in humans too.
The parasite Trichuris suis has been shown to protect against colon cancer in mice, according to one study from 2000 published in The Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
How Do I Know if My Pets Have Worms?
Dogs and cats can pick up worms from outside their homes or during trips to parks, shelters, or the vet. This is not to mention that your pet may have worms as a result of another ailment, such as a skin infection.
If you suspect your dog or cat has worms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so they can run tests and recommend treatment if necessary.
The reason for this is that your pets need to be dewormed on a regular basis in order to avoid health risks like infections, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and organ damage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
One of the most common types of worm seen in dogs and cats is roundworms, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Roundworms can also migrate through your pet’s body into their heart and lungs, causing life-threatening conditions.
Another type of worm seen in dogs is hookworms; these are transmitted by contact with soil or vegetation contaminated by feces from infected animals.
Hookworms generally cause heavy blood loss, weakness, and decreased production of red blood cells. Hookworms may also lead to death when they enter vital organs.
The third type of worm found in both dogs and cats is tapeworms, which live inside the intestines and feast on leftover food particles there. They are generally transmitted when pets swallow fleas carrying tapeworm eggs.
How Do I Prevent This From Happening Again?
If you’re not sure if your pet is currently suffering from an infestation, see your veterinarian for a fecal test. If the fecal test does reveal worms, get started on the correct dewormer for your animal by asking for prescription veterinary dewormers like pyrantel pamoate or levamisole.
Also, make sure to read the instructions before administering a dewormer to avoid any adverse reactions. Keep in mind that some pets require a monthly dose of dewormer and others need it every six months.
In addition, be aware that many over-the-counter medicines for humans may not be safe for your pet and could cause illness in animals who are already battling parasites internally.
However, there are specific anti-parasitic products for dogs and cats that are available at your local vet’s office. With these products, you’ll know exactly what ingredients go into them and what they will do to eradicate any worms from your pet’s system.
They also have a more efficient effect on parasites as compared to human medications. The veterinarian can also recommend which type of product would work best for your particular animal since their needs may vary.
Where Should I Take My Pet if He Has Worms?
There are a number of options for deworming your pet. The choice of treatment depends on the type of worm and the pet’s age, weight, and symptoms.
Some common treatments include heartworm preventative pills, monthly tablets that treat both fleas and worms, or topical spot-on treatments like Frontline.
Talk to your veterinarian to figure out what is best for your dog. It’s also important to note that there are two types of worms, Roundworms, and Hookworms.
Different types need different treatments so make sure you find out which one it is before starting any medication!
After finishing all medication, remember to get rid of places where your pet can pick up more eggs – this includes thoroughly cleaning the yard and changing bedding.
Finally, talk with your vet about how often you should be treating your animal for worms – they will be able to let you know if more frequent doses are needed based on their size and life stage.
Lastly, always monitor your pet closely when administering medication as well as during and after. Be observant of adverse reactions or other health concerns that might have been triggered by the medications.
Other Options Besides Deworming
There are a variety of reasons for which an animal may need deworming, but in general, it’s not necessary to deworm your pet every year.
Veterinary clinics will typically recommend deworming when the animal has recently been on a news feed and is susceptible to worm infection, or if the animal has traveled and taken a risk of contracting worms.
For other pets, vets might recommend a one-time dose annually.
If you’re not sure whether or not your pet needs it, ask your vet. If they feel that there is no reason to deworm at this time, then don’t worry about it.
But if they do think that a dewormer would be helpful, make sure you use the right type (there are many types out there).
One thing that some owners don’t realize is that some products must be refrigerated after opening; these should never be left out for long periods of time or placed near heat sources like fireplaces or heating vents.
Remember: A little bit goes a long way! It’s best to follow the directions on the package carefully and avoid using more than what is recommended.
The most common mistake made by those administering medication orally is giving too much. Too much medicine can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, drooling, increased thirst, or even muscle tremors.