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What Do Worms Look like in My Pet’s Poop?

Pets can become infected with intestinal worms either by ingesting eggs or by the worms being passed from mother to infants. Puppies and kittens may have a bloated appearance when carrying these parasites. Typically worm eggs are only visible microscopically. Some adult worms can be seen in the stool. The two types most commonly seen can be put into two groups: roundworms and tapeworms. There are many other parasites, but we will focus on these two groups.

As the name implies, roundworms are round, white to grey, resembling a piece of spaghetti. They can vary in length and diameter. These worms can be seen when a pet either vomits them up or passes them in their stool. They can be alive or dead when they are passed. When cleaning up poop or vomit, the area in question should be cleaned and disinfected with diluted bleach. Gloves should be worn, and hands must be cleaned after handling excrement. Children should always wash their hands after handling pets as eggs may be attached to pet’s fur. Worms can be passed to humans so deworming is very important.

Tapeworms are flat, long worms that attach themselves to the intestinal wall. The portion of the worm that people typically see is segments of the worm that break off and stick to the fur around the anus. Sometimes larger pieces of the worm are also seen. These segments or egg packets resemble pieces of oatmeal or dried rice when passed. When fresh, these tapeworm bits can move. Tapeworms are often seen in conjunction with fleas so pet owners should have dogs and cats seen by a veterinarian to determine if fleas are an issue.

Regardless of which worms are present, deworming is very important to rid your pet of the burden and to prevent spread to others (including humans). Medication used will differ depending on the type of parasite(s) that are involved. Veterinarians will weigh your pet and assist in choosing the appropriate product.

Written by: Brenda LaFrance, RVT



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