The most common type of intestinal worms are roundworms and hookworms. They live and grow inside the intestine of your pet, developing from egg into larvae (immature worms), then into adults. Dogs and cats of any age may contract intestinal parasites, but are most vulnerable when they are very young and when they catch and consume rodents.
Roundworms are often transmitted from mother to puppy (or kitten) before birth, or shortly thereafter while nursing. The eggs may also be ingested from feces or in their surroundings (contaminated soil, sand, plant life or other objects).
Hookworms are transmitted similarly or the larvae can burrow through the skin when in contact with the environment.
Most dogs and cats do not always show signs of infection of these worms, although some possible signs might be diarrhea and/or pot belly. They may only show evidence of these parasites in their feces on a microscopic level.
Hookworms and roundworms are both considered zoonotic diseases, meaning that they can be passed from our pets to us. It is therefore very important to make sure that at risk pets are dewormed regularly.
These intestinal parasites can be diagnosed by a microscopic evaluation of the feces, this is why we recommend that you bring a fresh fecal sample with you for your pet’s annual physical examination.