The main species of worms in the Southeast are roundworms (ascrids), hookworms, whipworms, and
tapeworms. These gross and harmful critters are particularly common in young puppies and/or kittens and have the potential
to cause varying degrees of illness and/or death. Roundworms are a thick, round worm that occupies space and absorbs
nutrients. A heavy load of these can cause death in young kittens and puppies. Hookworms attach to the walls of
the small intestine and suck blood from animals. They can cause severe anemia and death even in an adult dog.
Whipworms, found usually in dogs only, attach to the large intestine and absorb blood, causing anemia, illness, and death
in an adult. Tapeworms are flat, nutrient absorbing worms that reside in the small intestine and can reach lengths
of over one feet. They pass small moving segments that can be seen in bowel movements, and are caused by animals swallowing
flea(s) that's carrying immature stages of worm or by swallowing a small rodent infected with tapeworms.
Worms can be detected with a fecal exam at the veterinarian's office. If your animal has
worms, you may notice diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, bloody stool, and possible vomiting. If not treated, these
symptoms could progress to cause serious illness and/or death.
The types of worms listed above can cause various forms of diseases in humans and, except
for whipworms, can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated feces. The best form of
prevention is to start worming your puppy or kitten at 4 weeks, and redose every 2-3 weeks until their last puppy/kitten
vaccination. After that, it's best to reworm at every regular yearly veterinarian visit. If your animal
is often around other dogs and/or in kennels frequently, they should be wormed about twice a year.