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The following is a list of frequently asked questions.

  1. How often should I deworm my pet?
  2. Why should I deworm my cat regularly if it never shows any signs of being infected with worms?
  3. Do I need to deworm my cat regularly if it does not go out?
  4. Can worms also be vomited up?
  5. What should we know when we travel abroad?
  6. Our dog has worms. Could our children become infected?
  7. How dangerous are cat worms for people?
  8. Are pregnant women especially at risk?
  9. Can a person die from a worm infection?

How often should I deworm my pet?

Worming frequency depends on the age of your pet and also its current situation. Please see our Treatment section or talk to your vet for further information.

Why should I deworm my cat regularly if it never shows any signs of being infected with worms?

It is often very difficult to tell if your adult pet has a worm infection. However treating your pet for worms every 3 months helps prevent worms from becoming a problem and also reduces the risk of contaminating the environment with worm eggs and larvae.

Do I need to deworm my cat regularly if it does not go out?

Certainly your cat is at far less risk of being exposed to a worm infection. However it is possible for you to carry worm eggs on your shoes or to bring fleas into the house. If your cat should manage to ingest either these eggs or a flea then it is quite possible that it could develop a worm infection. We would therefore suggest that you still worm your cat on a regular basis.

Can worms also be vomited up?

Heavy roundworm infections may lead to some worms being brought up from the intestine. It is also the case that the larvae migrating from the lungs must be coughed up and subsequently swallowed in order to reach the intestines; large amounts of these larvae may cause vomiting.

What should we know when we travel abroad?

Each country is likely to have different types of worms that are more prevalent. You should check with your veterinary surgeon or the Embassy of the country you are travelling to in order to find out if your pet should be given any preventative treatments prior to or during you visit.

Due to recent changes in the UK quarantine laws it may now be possible to take your pet with you when you travel to the UK. For more information please see www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/quarantine/.

Our dog has worms. Could our children become infected?

Certain worms can affect humans, such as Toxocara canis. It is rare that people are affected but children are at a greater risk than adults. However, infections do not occur due to direct contact with the dog but from the ingestion of infective eggs from the environment. Therefore, is it important to encourage good hygiene standards, such as washing hands before eating, particularly after playing outside. For more information see the Potential Health Risks section.

How dangerous are cat worms for people?

There is relatively little documented regarding the possible zoonotic effect of Toxocara cati. However if one uses good hygiene practices such as washing hands before eating then the risk of any potential problems is extremely low. Treating your cat for worms every 3 months helps to prevent contamination of the environment with worms eggs and larvae. For more information see the Potential Health Risks section.

Are pregnant women especially at risk?

It is a common misconception that a pregnant woman or her unborn child is at a greater risk from zoonotic worm infection, in particular Toxocariasis (disease caused by Toxocara spp in humans) than other humans. This is in fact not the case and as long as normal good hygiene is practised they have no more chance of experiencing a problem than anyone else. However a different zoonotic parasitic disease with specific relevance to pregnant women is Toxoplasmosis, which may be confused with Toxocariasis.

Can a person die from a worm infection?

Most zoonotic worms do not usually cause life-threatening illnesses. However the intermediate stage of the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus forms a cyst within the human body, often in the liver; should this cyst burst it could cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. This situation is extremely rare but more worrying is the Fox Tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) as the stage that affects humans will usually cause death by destroying the liver.

Last changed: 10.09.2014