Parasite Control & Worming

As a pet owner, it is important to consider that while your cat or dog may appear perfectly healthy, it is still possible they may be carrying parasites. They will often only display signs of illness when a severe infection is present. Most cats and dogs will carry parasitic worms at some stage in their lives.

Worms can be harmful to your pet’s health as well as anyone who comes into contact with them. Zoonotic parasites can be transferred from animals to people and cause human disease. Parasites can be dangerous, however they can be easily prevented and their risks massively reduced by regularly worming your pet.

There are 3 major groups of intestinal worms that dogs and cats in Australia should be protected against: Roundworm, Hookworm and Tapeworm. Dogs also need to be protected against Whipworm, and both dogs and cats should also be protected against Heartworm.

It is common for puppies to be born with Roundworm, or be infected while suckling. Puppies or kittens infected by Roundworm can suffer from impaired growth, and experience vomiting, diarrhea, colic, and develop a pot-bellied appearance.
Dogs or cats that hunt are at increased risk of Roundworm infection. Infection can cause thousands of eggs to be released in an animal’s faeces.

Hookworm infection can also occur in puppies while they are still feeding from their mother. Puppies and kittens can also be exposed to contaminated soil containing the larval stage of hookworm, which can cause infection by the larvae entering through the skin or by accidental ingestion.
Hookworms have an appetite for blood and feed in the small intestine, where they cause small bleeding wounds. Skin inflammation can occur in infected animals where the larvae have penetrated the skin, as well as intestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, anaemia and diarrhea. Infection can cause thousands of eggs to be released in an animal’s faeces.

Whipworm infection is most common in older puppies and young adult dogs, and can cause anaemia, dehydration and wasting. Whipworm eggs can survive for years in soil.

The flea tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum, is the most common tapeworm affecting dogs and cats. Infected fleas transfer the parasite to animals, where the tapeworm attaches itself to the small intestine wall. The adult tapeworm releases small, white, rice-like segments containing eggs, which can be found around the rear of infected animals. Infection can result in irritation of the anal region, and a common sign is rubbing their bottom on the ground.
Dogs are also affected by the hydatid tapeworm, echinococcus granulosus, which also lives in the small intestine. Infection can result from dogs being fed raw offal, such as from pigs, sheep, cattle or kangaroos. Infected dogs release eggs in their faeces, and the eggs can adhere to the coat, paws, mouth or anus, and can therefore potentially infect people, livestock and native animals.

• To provide optimal protection, worm your pet regularly
• Always wash your hands after handling your pets, and encourage your children to wash their hands regularly
• Ensure your children wear shoes outside if your pets can access their play area
• Pick up your dog’s droppings daily and use scoops and bins to prevent the spread of infection

• Routine worming of puppies from 2 weeks old
• Treat puppies every 2 weeks from 2-12 weeks old
• Treat monthly from 12 weeks to 6 months old
• Treat at least every 3 months when 6 months or older (although monthly worming is recommended)
• Breeding females should be dosed at mating, monthly during the gestation period, prior to whelping, and then monthly during lactation
• Milbemax® for Dogs, Interceptor® Spectrum, or Sentinel® Spectrum products all provide broad spectrum protection against worms in dogs

• Routine worming of kittens from 6 weeks old
• Treat kittens at 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks old
• Treat monthly from 12 weeks to 6 months old
• Treat every three months once 6 months or older
• Milbemax® for Cats is effective for broad spectrum protection in cats, and comes in a small tablet