Even the best cared for pets are at risk of developing a worm infection. Although difficult to prevent, it is relatively easy to protect your pet against the effects of infection, by simply killing worms before they are able to cause serious damage to the animal’s health.

The main groups of worms in the UK are:


The vast majority of puppies and kittens receive infection pre-natally from their mother and through suckling. These larvae develop into egg-laying adult worms by the time the pup/kitten is 3 weeks of age. They can reduce nutrient absorption from the guts resulting in a thin, pot-bellied youngster. A very large burden can obstruct the intestine or cause intussusception/death.

Adult worms resemble bits of white string and may be seen in vomit or faeces. Eggs passed in the faeces can survive in the environment for a long time, and animals may be infected by ingestion of these or eating prey that contain the larvae. Animal roundworms can infect humans (a zoonosis) – an especial risk is ocular larval migrans causing eye damage in children.


tapewormsDogs and cats are infected by eating a vector containing l;larvae (fleas, mice, dead mammals etc). The adult worm attaches to the gut and has a segmented body. Often individual segments (like rice grains) are seen at the animal's anus where they can cause irritation. One species of tapeworm, picked up by a pet eating dead farm animals such as sheep, does pose a threat to human health, causing hydatid cysts in tissue.


These have traditionally not been a major problem, but climate changes have seen cases appearing in Scotland. Infection appears when pets eat infected snails or slugs. Signs of disease may be respiratory or due to a bleeding syndrome.

The adverse impact of worms is generally greatest in younger animals, as older animals develop some immunity to infection. For this reason, and to minimise human risk, we advise that puppies and kittens are wormed at 2 weeks of age, then every 2 weeks until they reach 12 weeks of age. Thereafter, it depends on risk factors but a general guide is to worm every 3 months.

At Deveron Vets we use a variety of different treatments to control the threat of worms. Please feel free to discuss this during office hours with a member of staff.