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Signs and symptoms of worm infestation

Drontal Worming Range

Available in tasty bone and beef capsules, Drontal is a simple de-worming tablet that is suitable for treating intestinal worms in dogs and puppies.

Veloxa Chewable Worming Tablets packaging

Veloxa Chewable Worming Tablets

A tasty and easy to administer treatment, Veloxa is a simple de-worming tablet that is suitable for treating intestinal worms in dogs and puppies.

How do you tell if your dog has worms?

Worms (internal parasites) are very common in dogs but, fortunately, they are also very treatable. Most pet owners choose to treat their dogs with a dewormer regularly to avoid potential health issues, and as they are widely available without a prescription, this is easy to do.

Common symptoms:

Visible worms or eggs in faeces: This is the most common way to confirm that your dog has worms. However, not all kinds of worms are visible to the naked eye.

Scratching or rubbing of rear on the ground or against furniture: If your dog shows signs of itchiness around the rear, it may be irritated by worms in the area. However, this could also be due to problems with anal glands (completely unrelated to worms) or other conditions, so you need to see your vet if your dog shows this behaviour.

Vomiting with visible worms: If your dog has worms, you may also see them in your dog's vomit.

Bloated stomach or belly: This is another common symptom of worms, often seen in puppies who contract worms from their mother.

Weakness, increased appetite, constant hunger and weight loss: If your dog has worms, the worms are stealing your dog’s nutrition. Your dog may be weak or constantly hungry, and in severe cases, may be losing weight. These signs could indicate another health issue, therefore it’s important to consult with your vet for a diagnosis and treatment.

Diarrhoea: Particularly with blood in it. Again, diarrhoea can also be indicative of other serious conditions, and your vet should be contacted. Bloody diarrhoea can also indicate other very serious disease and you should contact your vet immediately if you see this.

None: Worm infestations can be totally asymptomatic, and so in these cases the only way to diagnose a worm infection is a faecal exam carried out by your vet.
Endogard Plus Flavour Tablets for Dogs packaging

Endogard Plus Flavour Tablets for Dogs

Endogard is a palatable (tasty), safe and effective broad spectrum wormer for dogs.

Treating a worm infestation:

For the most common types of worms, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms, there are all-in-one medications for your dog (allwormers) in flavoured chewable tablets which will kill the existing infestation. Worming tablets have no residual effect so they will not prevent your dog from contracting them.

Here is the list of the most common products for worm infestions :

Drontal Dog Tasty Bone Tablet
  • Fast action against common canine intestinal tapeworms and roundworms
  • Bone-shaped design to make them more appetising to your pet
  • Can give at any time, on their own or with food
Panacur Granules for Cats & Dogs

A broad spectrum oral wormer, for the treatment of cats and dogs infected with roundworms and tapeworms.

Drontal Plus XL Beef Flavour Dog Worming Tablet

Use this tablet to help combat worms in your dog, and keep your pet happy and healthy

Cazitel Plus packaging

Cazitel Plus

A palatable dog worming tablet that can be used to treat Hookworms, Whipworms & Tapeworms.

Please note: the terms "broad-spectrum, multi-wormer and allwormer" usually refer to products designed as treatment for all common intestinal worms, and may not be effective against heartworm, lungworm and all types of tapeworm.

How do worming treatments work?

The way worming treatments work is to kill existing worms - there is no residual effect so nothing will prevent your dog picking up worms in the first place, however if the worms are killed regularly they will not have a chance to cause any damage.

Since many deworming medications can cover all major types of worms, it is simple and convenient for the average dog owner to treat their dog. To be able to ensure the treatment is being used efficiently it’s important to determine the correct dosage based on your dog's weight. Veterinary recommendation is to dose pets every three months, except in cases of increased infection risk (if the dog is a hunter or living with young children or elderly) where treatment can be given monthly. Please contact one of our Animal Health Advisors if you would like to receive further advice regarding worming your pet.

Cestem Large Dog Flavoured Worming Tablet packaging

Cestem Large Dog Flavoured Worming Tablet

Cestem Worming Tablets for Large Dogs treat and protect your pet from tapeworm, roundworm, ascarids and hookworm.

What can put your dog at risk?

Being a newborn puppy: Roundworm eggs can form cysts in adult dogs that remain dormant. These eggs cannot be removed by medication. When a female dog is pregnant, these dormant eggs will activate and infect the puppies. The mother's milk can also pass roundworms to puppies.

Contact with contaminated soil: Roundworm eggs and hookworm larvae can reside in soil. If your dog comes into contact with infected dirt, he may pick up infective worm eggs.

Fleas: Young tapeworms can reside in fleas. If your dog swallows fleas while grooming, your dog will ingest tapeworms and be infected.

Hunting or eating wildlife: Wild animals may carry worms, including tapeworms residing in fleas on wild animals. If your dog hunts or eats wildlife, he may contract worms.

Symptoms and risks for worm infestation:

Roundworms: Roundworms can grow up to half a foot in length and live in the intestines. They should be visible as small noodle-like bits in faecal matter and cause swollen bellies. Roundworms are a big problem in puppies.

Hookworms: Hookworms are thin, small worms that "bite" or "hook" into the intestinal wall. They are not always visible to the naked eye, which means a microscope examination is needed to detect eggs in faecal matter. Hookworms can cause bleeding in the dog’s bowel because of their biting, which results in bloody stools or anaemia.

Tapeworms: Tapeworms are flat, long worms that live in the intestines. Segments of the tapeworm that have broken off are visible to the naked eye as rice-like grains after drying out. These segments contain egss and are often seen stuck to fur around the anus. The most common Tapeworm ‘Dipylidium caninum’ is spread to pets via fleas, therefore if fleas are visible then this could indicate your dog may be infected with tapeworms.

Whipworms: Whipworms are thin, thread like worms living in the large intestine. Adults may be visible to the naked eye, but faecal matter does not contain many worms, so they may be difficult to detect. A microscope examination of several faecal samples may be necessary to detect them. Whipworms are one of the most difficult worms to eliminate, but they are treatable.

Lungworm: There are more than one type of lungworm, but Angiostrongylus vasorum is the one that is popularised currently and can be life threatening. It is spread via ingestion of slugs and snails, as well as licking contaminated surfaces. Currently the only treatments and preventatives available are only available with a prescription from your vet.

Heartworms: Heartworms are one of the most dangerous worms because they cannot be easily detected. Heartworm can only be detected by blood testing. This disease is potentially fatal, but preventative medicine is available from your veterinary surgeon. Heartworm is not generally seen in the UK because it is spread by mosquitos, but dogs travelling to Europe or elsewhere in the world are at risk.

How can I prevent and treat worms?

Pick up after your dog: eggs can remain infectious for several years. Dog waste is a major source of infection so it is crucial we pick up after our pets. Our range of poo bags and poop scoops can help with this. 

Always wash your hands: after handling your pets, especially when preparing food or eating. 

Be sure to wash raw foods: wash ALL vegetables and fruit before you eat them

Worm your pet regularly: we recommend that puppies are wormed with Drontal Puppy or Panacur Suspension Liquid from 2 weeks of age then every 2-3 weeks until they are weaned, then monthly until they are 6 months of age. The bitch should be treated at the same time as her puppies. Please consult with your vet or one of our Animal Health Advisors before treating pregnant bitches for worms.

Adult dogs should be wormed at least once every 3 months, or more frequently if they are hunters, around young children or the elderly. 

Treat your pets for fleas regularly: with a spot on treatment such as Frontline Plus or Advantage to prevent the spread of fleas and tapeworm. 

Apply a household flea spray: to your home every 12 months to keep your envirnoment clear from adult fleas and larvae. We recommend Indorex Defence Spray or Frontline Homeguard Spray.

Risk for humans:

Roundworms: Eggs can be found in soil wherever dogs have defaecated. If roundworm eggs are ingested accidentally, roundworm larvae can pass into internal organs in the human, affecting muscle, eyes, and central nervous system. Immune compromised people and children are most at risk.

Hookworms: Hookworm larvae can be picked up if walking barefoot on affected sand or soil. They can cause skin and/or intestinal disease.

Tapeworms: A very serious disease called hydatid disease can occur from being infected with Echinococcus granulosus dog tapeworm. Although quite rare, it causes cysts to form in vital organs and if they rupture cause serious illness or death.

Humans are not at risk of contracting whipworms, lungworm or heartworm from canines.