There is one topic that nobody likes, and that is the subject of worms that invade the intestines of animals and people. Worms are parasitic and feed off your intestines and insides. While usually not too serious, they can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Some worms are also particularly contagious, so caution when dealing with worms must be taken. But which worms can harm your dog? Unfortunately, whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms can all take up residence in your dog! But can your dog catch worms from cats?
Can Dogs Get Worms From Cats?
Yes, dogs can get worms from felines. People may think specific strains of worms cannot be transmitted between species, but a number of worms can, in fact, be transmitted from cats to your dog. If you have a household cat as well as a dog and you suspect your cat might have worms, it would be well worth keeping them separated until the worm infestation has been dealt with!
Does My Dog Have Worms?
Fortunately, spotting the signs of worms in your dog is relatively straightforward. The first thing to look out for is worms in your dog’s stool or vomit. Has your dog experienced a reduction in appetite or lost a lot of weight recently? These are all potential signs that your dog may have a worm infestation.
What causes worms? Your dog digests worm eggs or larvae that are on your cat or in their stool. Those larvae then develop into eggs, which feed off the intestinal wall. The bad news is that thousands of eggs can hatch a day! Worms can spread quickly from your cat to your dog, and before you know it, thousands of them have taken up residence.
Your vet will diagnose worms through an analysis of your pooch's stool. If you have a fresh sample, taken within the last 24 hours, bring it with you to the appointment. Your vet will use a fecal float and microscopic analysis to identify the type of worms your dog has.
For further information about the symptoms, causes, and method of diagnosis of worm infestations, our guide to Worm Infestations in Dogs can fill you in.
How Do I Treat My Dog’s Worms?
The treatment of worms is relatively straightforward. Your vet will prescribe a course of deworming medication. Your pooch will be given either an oral or injectable medication and it will kill all living worms inside your dog. The worms will dissolve and exit via your dog’s stool. Often, multiple treatments will be needed as the medicine sometimes kills only the adult worms.
It is essential during the deworming period that you ensure your dog does not get re-infected. That means cleaning up excrement in the yard left behind by your dog and cat. Keep their bed and areas clean and disinfected. Plus, it is vital that you wear gloves when handling infected objects and feces, as you do not want the infection spreading to yourself or your children.
It will usually be several weeks before your dog is fully recovered, as numerous treatments are often needed. Until all the worms are eradicated, your dog may seem lethargic, unwell, and quiet. But within several weeks or a couple of months, you can expect full recovery.
For first-hand accounts from other dog owners, visit Roundworms in Dogs.
How Are Worms Similar in Dogs and Cats?
Worms manifest themselves in dogs in many of the same ways they do in cats and other animals. Some of the symptoms frequently seen are as follows:
▪ In dogs and cats, you may be able to actually see worms in the stool or vomit.
▪ Both dogs and cats may experience a reduction in appetite and lose a significant amount of weight while suffering from an infestation.
▪ Dogs and cats may seem lethargic and uninterested in their usual day-to-day life.
▪ Dogs and cats may have blood in their stool or vomit when battling worms.
How Are Worms Different In Dogs, Cats, and Humans?
As you have seen, there are a number of similarities in the way worms manifest themselves in dogs and cats. While many of these similarities are shared with humans suffering from a worm infestation, humans often experience several differences.
▪ Worms spread much more frequently between cats and dogs than they do to humans, who come into contact with the eggs and larvae far less.
▪ Humans with worms often report severe abdominal pain, but it is less clear whether dogs and cats experience the stomach pain.▪ While dogs and cats get hookworms relatively frequently, it is seen far less in humans.
Jax was a 7-year-old Australian Shepherd who shared the house with a cat infected with roundworms. Although the cat was on deworming medication, Jax still picked up the roundworms. He needed several deworming treatments of his own and lost a substantial amount of weight. But after 6 weeks, Jax was back to normal, and 2 weeks after that he had regained all the weight he had lost.