There are two broad categories of worms that affect your dog and cat - intestinal worms and heartworm.

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms are relatively common in many animal species including dogs, cats, rabbits, large animals, fish, reptiles and birds. These parasites lives in your pet's intestines and can range in size from small to very large (up to 18cm in length).  Regardless of their size however, they all have negative and potentially deadly effects.

Worming is one of the first healthcare issues you need to address with puppies and kittens.  Regular deworming is essential for ensuring your pets remain healthy and reducing the risk of some of these worms being transmitted to people.

 Puppies and kittens are often the most susceptible to worm infestation.  Intestinal worms are spread via dog faeces, so can be picked up anywhere from the backyard to the dog park.  Puppies and kittens sometimes arrive at their new home with worms already present.  Worms can cause a number of health issues including gastrointestinal disease, malnutrition and anaemia and if in large numbers can be fatal.


What worms should I worm against?

For both dogs and cats, it is highly recommended that you protect them against tapeworm, hookworm, and roundworm.  For dogs, protection is also recommended against whipworm.

When should I worm my pet?

Worming your puppy or kitten should start at around two weeks old and needs to be every 2 weeks until they are 3 months old.  Then monthly until they are 6 months old, and then once every 3 months depending on the product you are using.

Frequent deworming will kill worms that are present but it is very easy for your pet to become reinfested and so it’s important to continue deworming your pet all year round. Some intestinal worm species can produce large numbers of eggs, for example roundworm can lay 200,000 eggs per day within five weeks of infestation.  It's important to maintain a regular deworming program for your pets to reduce eggs being shed into the environment. 

My pet is difficult to worm

Some pets may refuse to eat a tablet, or you find it hard to administer the tablet. Try hiding the tablet in their food or small piece of meat, to disguise the smell and taste. If they still refuse to eat it, contact us and we can recommend other available worming methods like a spot-on.

How do I know if my pet has worms?

Some of the signs that your pet has worms include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, scooting on their backside, lethargy and generally not being themselves.  Often pets can have worms and show no obvious signs.

Can I get worms from my dog?

The short answer is yes, many worms infesting dogs are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans.  Different worms cause different diseases and each have their own symptoms.  Whilst anyone can become infected by intestinal worms, children and those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk.  One of the most important ways to reduce human exposure is regular deworming of your pets.

We can provide you with the most up to date advice on the best worming regime for your pet.


Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease found throughout Australia.  Dogs are more susceptible to heartworm infestation than cats, and it also tends to be more severe in dogs.  Adult worms live within the heart and large blood vessels where they can grow to more than 30 cm in length.  Heartworm larvae can also be found circulating in the blood of an infected dog.

All dogs are at risk of heartworm disease and should be on preventative treatment for the whole of their life.

How is heartworm spread?

Heartworms are transmitted from one dog to another by mosquitoes, which pick up the tiny larvae when they bite an infected dog. The larvae are transmitted when the infected mosquito bites another dog.  The larvae then migrate through the dog’s tissues and circulatory system, eventually reaching the heart and lungs where they grow into adult heartworms.

Why is heartworm disease dangerous?

Heartworm may cause no clinical signs in the early stages of infestation, but as the worms grow and mature, they can interfere with the normal circulation of blood.  This can result in signs of heart failure, and in some cases may lead to sudden death.

Luckily heartworm is very easy to prevent and should form part of your pet's health care routine.

If your pet has not been on heartworm prevention we strongly recommend you speak to us about a heartworm test prior to starting a prevention program.

Please call us to discuss the best heartworm prevention program for your pet.