Sydney Mobile Vet Service

Mon / Fri 7:30 am - 7 pm

Sat 9 am - 4 pm

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal worms are common in dogs and cats and easily transferable in social environments such as neighbourhood walks or dog parks.

If you have trouble getting to the vet or have an anxious animal, VETaround’s at-home vet services can make worming very easy.

Our vet provides home consultations so will come to you for comprehensive intestinal parasite prevention and treatment.

Young boy hugging a Jack Russell terrier at the seashore

Worm infections in dogs and cats

Worm eggs are generally shed in faeces. They are easily picked up by dogs and cats when they walk over, or come into contact with, the eggs or the faeces on the ground, with infective larvae penetrating through the skin.

Worms mostly infect their natural host which is the dog or cat, but sometimes we see ‘zoonotic’ infections, which means it has been transmitted to an ‘unnatural’ host, such as a human.

Children are most susceptible to infection. As such, it is very important to teach children to practise good hygiene when playing with pets or if there is the potential to come into contact with pet faeces.

Prevention and treatment of intestinal parasites

Prevention and treatment of intestinal parasites

Dogs and cats require worming, either via tablets or chews, or in the form of drops placed onto the back of the animal’s neck.

At VETaround mobile vet, we recommend you worm puppies and kittens every two weeks from birth to around three months of age, then monthly until six months of age. High risk pets may subsequently require worming every three months.

The more social your pet is, the higher the risk of acquiring intestinal worms. That likelihood is significantly reduced for strictly indoor animals. Our house call vet will be happy to chat to you about your pet’s situation and recommend the most suitable worming frequency.


Roundworms (Toxocara canis)

Roundworms are typically the largest worms and are cylindrical and long in shape. They live in your pet’s intestines. You may see these worms in the faeces or vomit of infected dogs or cats.

The most common clinical sign is diarrhoea or vomiting, but extreme cases can cause life threatening intestinal obstruction. Roundworms also cause the serious zoonotic disease called ‘visceral larval migrans’ which mostly affects children.

The roundworm migrates around the body of the child causing damage wherever it goes and it usually gravitates to the eye, where it may cause blindness.

Roundworm prevention in pets is crucial.



Hookworm infection of dogs and cats is generally orally (via the mouth) or penetration of the larvae through the skin. The adults also live in the intestine but attach to the intestinal wall, feeding on blood.

The most important clinical sign of significant infection is weakness and anaemia, often requiring blood transfusions when severe.

Hookworm can also cause a zoonotic illness in people called ‘cutaneous larval migrans’, during which the larvae penetrate and circulate under the skin, causing inflammation and other skin reactions.



Whipworms live in the intestines, where they feed on blood. Whipworm infection can cause several different clinical signs in dogs, including bloody diarrhoea.

Dogs can become very sick, weak and dehydrated, sometimes requiring extended stays in hospital.



Common tapeworm infection in dogs occurs in the area around the anus, causing irritation, itching, and less commonly, mild diarrhoea. It is usually a small worm looking much like a grain of rice and is readily prevented with worming medication. As it is generally spread by fleas, good flea control is also important.

There is a more serious tapeworm called ‘hydatid’, which is common in rural areas but less prevalent in Sydney. As dogs are the natural host, they generally don’t show any signs of infection.

Humans can become seriously ill if they ingest tissue cysts from improperly cooked meat or if they come into contact with eggs spread by dogs or other animals. If you live in a potential risk area, good hygiene practices and proper cooking of meat will help to prevent infection.

Please contact us for comprehensive intestinal parasite prevention and treatment, in the comfort of your own home.


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