Toxocara canis (in dogs) and Toxocara cati (in cats) are the most common roundworms in our pets. They are present in all puppies and kittens, who are infected through their mother’s milk, or even before they are born (in puppies). Roundworms are very clever and hide themselves away in small cysts in muscle tissue where they can’t be killed. They don’t cause any major problems here but just lie dormant, ready to cause infection again.
The adult worms live in the intestines. In some young animals, large numbers of worms can cause severe intestinal disease, but in most adult animals they don’t cause too much of a problem. The main concern comes from the eggs, which pass into the faeces and infect the environment.
If people become infected with Toxocara worms from faeces, the soil, or even our pets’ fur, they can cause serious disease, particularly in children, including blindness, liver disease, seizures and many others.
Toxocara worms can cause serious disease, particularly in children
Regular roundworm treatment (every 3 months) is advisable in all animals, but animals under 6 months, or adult animals in contact with children, the elderly or people who are unwell should be wormed monthly.
Other important ways to avoid toxocara infection in people include:
- pick up after your dog and dispose of dog and cat faeces safely (do not put down the toilet)
- wash fruit and vegetables before eating
- keep sand pits covered
- keep pets away from children’s play areas
If you would like a personalised parasite risk assessment for your pet, please fill in the relevant questionnaire below. This service costs £15, or is included in all wellbeing visit costs. Once your questionnaire has been submitted, we will email you a link for payment. Once payment is received, we will email your pet’s personalised advice within 2 working days.
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