There are four common worms in dogs and cats
Roundworm is very common in puppies and kittens. They can sometimes been seen in the faeces and look like ‘spaghetti’.
Hookworm can affect people and can cause skin rashes.
Tapeworm can often be seen as small white ‘rice grains’ on the hair around the dog or cat’s anus. Tapeworm is carried by fleas and can affect people.
Very young, old and sickly animals are more prone to worms. Puppies and kitten can get them from their mother while suckling so it is important to treat pregnant animals with a safe dewormer.
Why do worms cause problems?
Worms suck blood from animals. They can use up a lot of the animal’s nutrients and can make the animals very ill. Anaemia can occur- this is when a lot of blood loss has occurred and the animal’s blood becomes thin. They become tired, get fast breathing and can die. Worms can also cause gastroenteritis problems like vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhoea. As previously mentioned this can affect people too.
Choosing a dewormer:
- Make sure you buy it from a reliable source.
- Make sure it safe to use on your dog or cat
- If you have a puppy or a kitten, make sure the dewormer is safe to use on them.
Make sure you give the correct dose. Dewomers depend on the weight of the animals so have some idea of your pet’s weight before you buy the dewormer.
- Make sure it treats all the different types of worms
How often should I deworm my pets?
Puppies and kittens can be dewormed with some dewormers from two weeks of age. They should be dewormed every 2 weeks. They will normally be done by the vet with their vaccinations. Animals up to the age of one year should be dewormed every three months after their initial two weekly dosing and then should be done every 4 months. If you have flea problems you must deal with this too, as fleas carry tapeworm and can become difficult to control.
Ticks occur in the Eastern Cape and tend to be worse in summer-although they occur all year round.
There are two types of ticks that can affect dogs and cats.
1. The kennel tick
2. The yellow dog tick.
The small red ticks seen are the male of the species and the large grey ones are the females – full of eggs. The kennel ticks likes to hide in cracks and crevices and in kennels. Ticks suck blood from dogs and cats and can cause diseases.
Why should I worry about ticks?
Ticks cause the animal irritation. They suck blood and can cause anaemia. Ticks also carry tick bite fever which can affect people. Both dogs and cats can get ticks bite fever. These diseases are not contagious and the animal or persons must be bitten by the tick in order to contract the disease.
Tick bite fever in dogs: This is also known as Biliary. This is a life threatening disease. The dog usually loses its appetite, becomes lethargic and the gums may become pale.
Ehrlichiosis in dogs: This is also known as ‘bosluis byt koors’. This is less well know than biliary but can cause an equally serious disease. It is a much more chronic disease and can cause anaemia and severe changes in the dog’s immune system and blood count.
Tick bite fever in cats: This is a disease that is fairly unique to the Eastern Cape. It is carried by ticks although the tick is rarely seen as cats often remove them themselves. It can cause a slow weight loss, lethargy and anaemia of the cat and they can become very yellow (icteric).
If you suspect any of these diseases you must take your pet to the vet as they are all life-threatening.
How do I control ticks?
Use a reliable tick product regularly. Be very careful that it is safe to use one your animal as many products can cause poisoning. Products come in sprays, topspots and collars eg. Fronline,Advantix or Preventic.
Keep the grass at home short.
You may need to use an environmental product to treat the environment if you have a severe tick problem
Avoid areas where you know there are lots of ticks.