It’s now fairly well established that dogs should be wormed regularly, but did you know that your cat needs to be wormed just as often?
Cats can pick up Toxocara worms just as easily as dogs and those worms can produce eggs that get passed out in the cat’s stools. The eggs are microscopic and lurk in soil for up to two years. If those eggs are accidentally eaten they can cause eye disease and children are especially vulnerable. Although this condition is uncommon, even one case is one too many!
The chances are that you are already treating your cat for fleas on a regular basis. Did you know that you can now combine flea and Toxocara treatment through easy to administer spot-ons? Regular treatment is essential and our current recommendation is to treat your cat for Toxocara monthly – even if you see no sign of the worms as they could be present without you (or your pet!) being aware of them.
Do ask us for advice on a parasite control programme for your cat – even if you don’t have children, you could be putting others at risk, if you neglect to treat for Toxocara.
By SUSAN McKAY BVMS, MRCVS
Five things you never knew about Toxocara worms:
1. Just one gram of cat or dog faeces could contain 10,000 Toxocara worm eggs.
2. An adult Toxocara worm can be up to 18cm long but you may not even know if your pet has several worms living inside their intestines.
3. A Toxocara egg is less than one-tenth of a millimetre long, so invisible to the naked eye.
4. Humans are ‘paratenic hosts’ for Toxocara - consuming an egg is the route of infection, then, because the parasite finds itself in an animal it doesn’t normally inhabit, it goes into an arrested phase of development and roves around the body into many different tissues.
5. You don’t need to give your cat or dog a tablet to worm them - with an appropriate ‘spot-on’ a little liquid on the back of the neck is all that is needed.
Kim and Aggie say ‘Ban Big Wigglies!’
The Nation’s favourite cleaning ladies, Aggie MacKenzie and Kim Woodburn, are encouraging pet owners to keep their dogs and cats spick and span – inside and out! Their efforts are part of a 12 month nationwide awareness campaign to help dog and cat lovers clean up their act!
Dogs and cats can get unpleasant wiggly worms - called Toxocara - in their gut and the eggs they produce can infect people - especially the under 5’s. These worm eggs can also stick on a dog’s coat and veterinary experts have suggested that monthly worming against Toxocara is the best way forward
The ‘Queens of Clean’ are encouraging all dogs and cat owners to pop along to their veterinary surgery to discuss a suitable worming programme for their pet where they can expect to receive plenty of advice and support on all aspects of Toxocara and flea control.
Says Aggie and Kim, ‘We are backing the ‘Big Wiggly’ campaign to focus public attention on the importance of pet hygiene. Owning a dog or cat is the most fantastically rewarding experience but keeping them healthy and worm free is all part of the relationship.’