There are several forms of intestinal worms that can infect your pet, including roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms.Animals of all ages can be affected, although it is most common in young cats and dogs, or those that hunt prey regularly. People, especially children can also become infected by their pet. Symptoms of infection in your pets include: diarrhea, anemia, pot belly or no symptoms at all.
Roundworm: the most common intestinal worm of cats and dogs; acquired by eating infected poop, animals, dirt or vegetation; can cause cysts in the body allowing pregnant dogs to pass the infection to their puppies in the uterus or after birth in the milk; larva (immature forms of the worm) can migrate throughout the body causing damage to internal organs or the brain
Hookworm: acquired in similar ways to roundworms, but can also burrow into the skin when in contact with contaminated environment; worms attach to the intestinal wall and feed on blood from your pet causing anemia, which can be lifethreatening in the very young or debilitated pet
Tapeworm: common in cats that hunt prey; is acquired by similar ways to roundworms, but is also carried by fleas and infection can occur by accidentally consuming a flea while grooming; tapeworm segments may be seen stuck in the fur around the anus looking like dried rice
A single worm living in the intestine of your pet can produce thousands of eggs per day which are spread in the poop and contaminate the environment they live in. Worm infestations are diagnosed with a simple fecal exam, and can be treated and prevented with regular deworming.