Toxocara is a type of roundworm that commonly infects cats and dogs. The most common species are Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati.
The adult worms are up to 10-15cm long and pink/cream coloured. They live in the intestines of infected dogs or cats and those animals shed eggs in their faeces.
Adult animals rarely show clinical signs of infection. Young animals are usually the ones that show signs
Spot the signs of roundworm infection
Puppies and kittens with roundworm infections can fail to thrive, be bloated looking, fail to gain weight as expected and may have diarrhoea. In severe infections puppies or kittens can be seriously ill.
How Does a Cat or Dog Get Infected?
There are a couple of ways that animals can get infected…..
Animals can ingest toxocara eggs from the environment. They can also ingest an animal such as a rat that is carrying larval stages of the roundworm. These are common ways that adult animals may pick up infections.
Puppies and kittens can be infected as above, or they can also get infected by drinking the milk from their mother if their mother has larval cysts.
Puppies can also be infected by larvae in the womb.
Infection is common and young animals are very often infected. In young animals they toxocara larvae burrow through the gut wall and travel to the liver and then lungs where they mature further and are coughed up and swallowed. Then they begin their adult life in the intestine and produce eggs.
In older animals the infections are not always patent, but they can get larval cysts in tissues. This means if a bitch or queen gets pregnant, they can pass larvae to their young.
Can Your Pet Pass Roundworm to you?
It is very important to regularly worm animals both for their health and for your own health. If a human ingests toxocara eggs the larvae can migrate through the body as well. This can lead to a number or serious conditions…..
- Visceral larval migrans is a condition where the larvae migrate to tissues in the body and cause a local reaction there. Some of the places they can go are the liver, lungs or brain.
- Ocular larval migrans is more common in children and larvae migrate to the eye and cause blindness.
How to Protect your Cat and Dog from Roundworm
At Arkvet Care we recommend regular worming of your pets – both cats and dogs.
Adult animals should be wormed every 3 months. If there is a person in the house who is ill or immunosuppressed, then you might have to worm your animal monthly.
- The most common products we use are drontal plus or advocate to worm for roundworms.
- Advocate is a spot on treatment, It also protects against lungworm if given monthly.
- Drontal is a general wormer that should be given every 3 months.
- In puppies and kittens we often use a drug called fenbendazole as a wormer. It comes in a liquid form and is easier to give to a small animal.
To Cover for Roundworm, Worm as Follows:
Puppies: worm from 2 weeks old. Worm them every 2 weeks until 2 weeks after weaning and then monthly until 6 months old.
Pregnant Bitches: use fenbendazole daily from day 40 until 14 days after giving birth.
Kittens from 3 weeks old: Worm every 2 weeks until 2 weeks after weaning. Then every month until 6 months old.
Queen: Worm the queen once at 3 weeks after giving birth.