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Worming

Cats and dogs

Worming is very important at all stages of your pet's life, your pet can pick up worms from a variety of different methods. Worm eggs can be ingested by your pet when grooming following a walk, from fleas or eating infected prey animals or meat, and is also passed to puppies and kittens through the placenta in the womb and via milk from their mother when feeding. Worm eggs can remain infective in the environment for up to 2 years.

A worm burden can be particularly harmful to puppies and kittens, leading to vomiting/diarrhoea, failure to thrive, intestinal obstruction and even death.

Worms in adult animals may cause skin problems, coughing, difficulty breathing and in rare cases death. The roundworm Toxocara (most common worm in puppies) presents a public health risk as when ingested in large quantities in humans it can in rare cases cause blindness, with children particularly at risk.

Rabbits

E.cuniculi is a parasite that lives inside cells and attacks the central nervous system and internal organs e.g. kidney, heart, liver and lung. It is a very common parasite; approximately 50% of pet rabbits in the UK either have the parasite lying dormant (not causing disease) or have had the infection and cleared it.

The spores of the parasite are shed in urine from all rabbits and rodents once infected. The spores are then spread in food and water that have been contaminated. Commonly the infection is passed from mother to young. As the infection does not always cause symptoms of disease the infection can spread without the owner knowing it.

The most common symptom of E.cuniculi that we see in pet rabbits is a head tilt and falling over. Sometimes the symptoms are severe and the rabbit can be fitting, but usually the symptoms can be managed. Some rabbits get cataracts (white discolouration of the eye), kidney disease and urinary incontinence.

Worm prevention

Puppies and kittens

We recommend that all puppies and kittens are regularly wormed from 2 weeks of age until 6 months.

Adult dogs and cats

We recommend that all adult pets are wormed every 3 months.

Pregnant bitches

Pre-natal infection in pups may be controlled prior to whelping with Fenbendazole from the 42nd day of pregnancy to 2 days post whelping.

Rabbits

At the moment there is not very much research into E. cuniculi. The best preventative measure we can currently recommend is a 9 day course of Panacur Paste for Rabbits every 6 months. If your rabbit has had E.cuniculi diagnosed previously, then treat every 3 months. If you are going to be moving house or getting a new rabbit then we recommend that you treat for 9 days again.

Panacur Rabbit is an aid in the control of E. cuniculi and it is recommended that additional preventative measures are taken such as ensuring that food and water are placed appropriately to prevent urine contamination.