For after-hours emergency, please contact the Niagara Veterinary Emergency Clinic at 905-641-3185.

Providing Parasite Control

Pets can’t talk, but as a pet owner, you know your best friend well enough to tell when something isn’t right. Let us know if you’ve noticed any troubling symptoms and we’ll do a thorough examination to determine what may be causing your pet’s discomfort, especially when it comes to parasite control in Niagara Falls. Our friendly and helpful staff always has your pet’s best interests at heart, and we’ll do what we can to keep your pet in good health. To discuss your concerns about your animal’s health, physical condition, or behavior, please call us and we’ll get back with you promptly.

Cat

Internal Parasite in Cats

Are There Different Sorts of Internal Parasites or Worms?

There are several types of internal parasites that cause problems in cats. These include nematodes or roundworms, of which Toxocara cati, Toxascaris leonina (intestinal roundworm) and Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) are the main examples, and cestodes or tapeworms of which Dipylidium caninum, Taenia species and Echinococcus species are important examples.

Hookworms

Hookworms, particularly Ancylostoma, are one of the most pathogenic intestinal parasites of the cat. The hookworm is approximately ½ to 1" (1-2 cm) long and attaches to the lining of the small intestines, where it feeds on blood. As a result of blood sucking, hookworms can cause severe anemia. The infective larvae can enter the host either by mouth or through the skin, particularly the feet. Eczema and secondary bacterial infection can result due to irritation as they burrow through the skin.

Tapeworms

In order to get tapeworms, an intermediate host such as a flea, a bird or a certain species of rodent is required. In other words, your cat cannot get tapeworms directly from another cat or a dog.


Dipylidium caninum, the most common tapeworm of the cat, causes few problems in the adult host but can result in digestive upsets and stunting of growth in kittens. Kittens are occasionally infected (mostly when they eat raw prey) and, depending on the type of worm involved, the large number of worms can cause intestinal blockage. The intermediate host for Taenia species is small mammals such as rodents or rabbits, and some species of birds.

Heartworms

Heartworm disease is an uncommon disease in cats, but is increasing in incidence, especially in certain areas of North America. In the cat, symptoms associated with heartworm infection are non-specific. Heartworm causes a sudden onset of coughing and rapid breathing, weight loss and vomiting, symptoms that are also associated with several other, more common, diseases in the cat. Occasionally a cat that is infected with heartworms will be found dead, and the diagnosis will be made on a post-mortem examination. Heartworms are large worms reaching 6-14 inches (15-36 cm) long. They are primarily located in the right ventricle of the heart and adjacent blood vessels. 


This information is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM.

Dogs

Internal Parasite in Dogs

Are There Different Sorts of Internal Parasites or Worms?

There are several types of internal parasites that cause problems in dogs.

What Will Happen if My Dog Gets Worms?

Roundworms

If a growing puppy is infected with a large number of roundworms, the worms can stunt the puppy's growth, cause serious digestive upsets and result in excessive gas formation. These puppies have a characteristic 'pot-bellied' appearance. Nematodes (roundworms) are free-living in the intestines. Roundworms do not require an intermediate host to spread from dog to dog, but can be transmitted from dog to dog via infective eggs shed in the feces.

Hookworms

The hookworm is approximately ½ to 1" (1-2 cm) long and attaches to the lining of the small intestines, where they feed on blood. As a result of blood sucking, hookworms can cause severe anemia. The infective larvae can enter the host either by mouth or through the skin, particularly the feet. Eczema and secondary bacterial infection can result due to irritation as they burrow through the skin.

Whipworms

Whipworms are small worms, usually only ¼" (6 mm) long that live in the large intestine, where they cause irritation and inflammation. Symptoms of whipworm infection include chronic watery diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, and weight loss.

Tapeworms

In order to get tapeworms, an intermediate host, the flea and tick, or certain species of rodent is required. In other words, your dog cannot get tapeworms directly from another dog or a cat.


Dipylidium caninum, the most common tapeworm of the dog, causes few problems in the adult host but can result in digestive upsets and stunting of growth in puppies. The intermediate host of Dipylidium is the flea.


Taenia species of tapeworms usually infect adult dogs and cause few problems. Puppies are occasionally infected and, depending on the type of worm involved, the large number of worms can cause intestinal blockage. The intermediate host for Taenia species is small mammals such as rodents or rabbits.

Heartworms

The typical clinical signs of heartworm infection are fatigue, coughing and poor physical condition. Heartworms are large worms reaching 6-14 inches (15-36 cm) long. They are primarily located in the right ventricle of the heart and adjacent blood vessels.

Roundworms

Roundworms in Cats & Dogs

What Are Roundworms?

Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites of cats and dogs. They can be an important cause of illness, even death, in kittens and puppies. As their name implies, these are large-bodied round worms, averaging about 3-6 inches (8-15 cm) in length. They do not attach to the wall of the intestine, as some intestinal parasites do. Instead, they are literally "swimming" freely within the intestine.

What Are the Clinical Signs of Roundworm Infection?

Roundworms are not particularly pathogenic or harmful to adult cats and dogs, but large numbers may cause life-threatening problems in kittens, puppies and debilitated older cats and dogs. In kittens and puppies, common clinical signs include a pot-bellied appearance, abdominal discomfort, depressed appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, or poor growth.

How Do our pets Get Roundworms?

Both kittens and adult cats, as well as puppies and adult dogs, can become infected by swallowing eggs that contain infective roundworm larvae. These eggs may come from the feces of infected cats or dogs, or from the tissues of paratenic hosts. If a cat or dog eats the paratenic host, the roundworm is able to complete its maturation. Common paratenic hosts for roundworms include earthworms, cockroaches, rodents and birds.

What Is the Treatment for Roundworms?

Fortunately, the treatment for roundworms is safe, simple, and relatively inexpensive. The dead and dying roundworms pass into the stool after administration of the anthelmintic or deworming medication. Since none of these treatments will kill the immature forms of the worm or the migrating larvae, at least two or three treatments are needed; they are typically performed at two to three week intervals. Ideally, kittens and puppies are dewormed with each visit for booster vaccinations. If your adult cat or dog goes outdoors, you may wish to administer periodic doses of an anthelmintic.

Contact Us

6838 Morrison St.
Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6Z8

Niagara Veterinary Emergency Clinic:

Hours

Monday - Friday 07:00 AM - 06:00 PM

Saturday 07:30 AM - 01:00 PM

Sunday Closed

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