De-Worming Your Cat and Dog

What intestinal worms should I ensure my pet is treated for?

There are several different types of intestinal worms that may affect your dog and cat, some of which may be hazardous to human health as well. Find out more about these parasites below:

(1) Roundworms

Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina are the primary roundworms of concern in dogs; Toxocara cati is the primary roundworm of concern in cats. Puppies and kittens acquire infections by these worms through the placenta and/or their mother's milk. Adult animals may pick up the infection by coming in contact with the worm eggs in infected soil, dust and faeces.

T.canis and T.cati are both zoonotic, meaning that they can cause disease in humans, if accidentally ingested. A condition known as visceral larval migrans or less frequently, occular larval migrans, may be observed in humans following an infection with either T.canis or T.cati. Read more about roundworms here.

(2) Tapeworms

Tapeworms in dogs and cats may be acquired by the accidental ingestion of infected fleas. Cats may also acquire tapeworms when they ingest infected rodents. Dipylidium caninum and Taenia ovis is the dog tapeworm and Taenia taeniaeformis is the cat tapeworm.

For lifestyle block and farming communities - when accidentally ingested,  the eggs of the dog tapeworm Taenia ovis may cause sheep measles in sheep. Read more about how it happens here. Therefore, it is important that rural and farm dogs are wormed regularly with a product that confers protection against Taenia ovis.

Infections with Echinococcus spp. tapeworms in dogs and cats are rare; and it may cause disease in humans. However, New Zealand has been declared free of Echinococcus spp. of tapeworms since 2000.

(3) Hookworms

Ancylostoma caninum and Uncinaria stenocephala are the primary hookworms of concern in dogs. Hookworms are transmitted from the dam to the puppies via the milk or through the skin; adult dogs may pick up the infection from being in contact with infected faeces, soil or moist environment.

Hookworm infections in cats are possible but seen less commonly. The Ancylostoma tubaeforme species of hookworms are responsible for infections in felines. Infection routes in felines are thought to be similar to those in dogs.

Hookworm infections, especially with the Ancylostoma spp. are zoonotic to human health, because the larvae of these hookworms can migrate under the skin to cause a condition called cutaneous larval migrans. Read more about hookworm infections here.


(4) Whipworms

Trichuris vulpis is a type of whipworm that affects dogs; Trichuris infections are rarely seen in cats. Trichuris eggs can remain in the environment for up to 5 years, and dogs can easily become infected by coming into contact with these eggs. Read more here.


Our recommended de-worming protocol

For dogs:


For cats:



Do phone us at (06) 3588675 or come into the clinic to find out more from our experienced team members about which product is best suited for your pet's lifestyle.


Page last updated by Cahill Animal Hospital on 10 August 2016
The team at Cahill Animal Hospital is here to provide you and your pet with the best possible medical, surgical and supportive care. Our motto "We care as much as you do" is a very important part of our day to day work. We are committed to providing you and your pet with the best options for care.

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