Internal Parasites & Your Pets – Pet Owners Guide

Internal Parasites & Your Pets – Pet Owners Guide

15 May 2015

There are two types of parasites that mainly affect your pets. Internal and External. Some of the most common internal parasites are roundworm, tapeworms, hookworms and heartworm.


These are the most common internal parasites found inside cats or dogs. These parasitic worms can spread easily, but they are hard to control. Pets, generally ingest infective roundworm eggs from their surroundings like from backyards, dog parks, litter boxes, or just around the neighborhoods. Infection may also occur through the mother’s milk. These roundworms live in a pet’s intestines. If your pet has a heavy roundworm infection, you will see some major symptoms such as vomiting, weight loss, dull hair, and a potbellied appearance. You may also notice these worms in your pets’ feces or vomit. It is advised to consult with your veterinarian to address the problem in a timely manner.


These parasites are very common in dogs and cats. They require two hosts to complete their life cycle. The first or intermediate host carry the parasite around to a new home. The second host, i.e. your pet is the one where tapeworms mature and develop their eggs.  Fleas are the intermediate host of the Dipylidium tapeworm. Pets become infected by consuming an infected intermediate host by swallowing a flea or mice. You can check for the worm segments in the stool, these worms appear like small grains of rice.


When your dogs or cats ingest larvae from a contaminated environment such as backyards and parks, they become infected with hookworms. Hookworms can also spread to puppies and kittens through their mother’s milk. Hookworms ”hook” onto the intestinal tract, and leave holes behind while moving. A heavy infestation of hookworms can lead to anemia and even the pet may bleed to death. Some signs of a heavy infection are weakness, weight loss, diarrhea and pale gums.


Heartworm parasites are generally specific to dogs. They are not a concern in the cooler places. They mainly spread through mosquitoes. Mosquitoes spread infection from one animal to another. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length. Signs of infection may consist of a cough and exercise intolerance. If not treated on time, the infection can also lead to heart failure. Make sure you take your pet to your veterinarian for complete physical examination annually to check for parasitic infection.

Intestinal Parasite Management and Treatment

If your pet does have intestinal parasites, make sure you clean up the areas where they defecate to control the infection. Consult with a reliable veterinarian and follow up fecal analysis. It is crucial to treat pets’ parasitic infections and make sure the infection is prevented completely. There are various deworming products available in different forms like liquid, pills, powder, etc. These products have various active ingredients. Ask your veterinarian about the right dewormer for your pet.

At Mill Creek Veterinary Clinic, our veterinarians provide reliable treatments for parasites such as roundworms, ticks and fleas. Contact our veterinarians today to book an appointment for parasite prevention.

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Millcreek Veterinary Clinic offers pet healthcare services in Mississauga. Get veterinary services along with a host of pet care products at your trusted local veterinarian.


6400 Millcreek Drive Unit#7
Mississauga, Ontario, L5N 3E7
*In the McDonald’s plaza
*Wheelchair accessible

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