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How to Deworm Your Pet

Although some intestinal worms, such as tapeworms, as not necessarily dangerous to a healthy dog or cat, other worms can cause serious problems – especially if left untreated. So, for the sake of your pet’s health, if you know or suspect your pet has worms, speak to your vet about clearing the infection.

Identify the worm

In order to rid your pet of worms effectively, you will need to identify what you are dealing with.

Some worms are visible to the human eye, which can make identification easier:
Roundworms can be visible in your pet’s feces or vomit and will look like short strands of spaghetti.
Tapeworm segments can be visible in your pet’s feces and will look like grains of rice.

Other worms will provoke symptoms in your pet, though these can be easy to confuse with symptoms of other conditions:
Hookworms may cause anemia, weight loss and sore skin between an animal’s toes.
Roundworms may give your pet a potbellied appearance.
Tapeworms may cause your pet to scoot on the carpet or ground.
Whipworms may cause weight loss and bloody diarrhea.

Speak to your vet

In many cases, however, worms will not produce symptoms in your pet, or the symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If you suspect your pet has contracted worms, you will need to have the diagnosis confirmed by a vet, who will advise you of the type of worm and the required treatment.

Even for animals with no symptoms, or who take regular deworming medications, it is advised that your vet conduct a fecal examination 1-2 times a year.

Choosing the right dewormer

Identifying the exact type of parasite infecting your pet is essential, as dewormers usually target a specific worm or combination of worms. Additionally, the lifecycle of the worm you are treating will determine whether the worming treatment is to be administered as a one-off dose or a series of doses over 2-4 weeks.

For example, HeartGard Plus (dogs only) prevents heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms, but does not treat whipworms or tapeworms. Revolution spot-on solution prevents heartworm in dogs and cats and treats roundworms and hookworms in cats only.

To get an overview of which products treat which worms, you can refer to our treatment comparison chart.

How to Deworm Your Pet

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