Gastrointestinal parasites are common in dogs and cats in Singapore. These include roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and whipworm. They live primarily in the intestinal tract and cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Death can ensue in very serious and neglected infections. In Singapore, there is an additional worm known as the oesophageal worm, this worm lives in the oesophagus which is the tract from the mouth to the stomach. Infections commonly occur in young puppies and kittens and in other animals with a weak immunity (old or sick animals). An animal is infected when it consumes faeces with worm eggs. The eggs then develop into adult worms and cause disease.
A simple test on your animal’s faeces can determine if there is infection present. On occasion, the large adult worms can be seen in faeces as white coloured ‘noodles’. Once detected, worms are easily killed using ‘dewormer’ tablets. Usually, two to three doses are required before all worms are killed. We recommend that all puppies and kittens are treated to prevent infection during each vaccination. Thereafter, adult animals can be protected once every 6 months to 1 year. Topical dewormers are available for cats that do not like to have tablets administered. Contact your veterinarian for a recommended deworming regime.
Aside from internal parasites, external parasites like ticks and fleas are also very common in our pets in Singapore. Tick and flea infestations are often difficult to control and so preventing an infestation is encouraged. There are mainly 4 life stages of the tick and flea, the different life stages can survive on the animal but it can also survive well in the environment. Treatment and prevention involves both the animal and the environment. These external parasites, not only bite the animal, they can also transmit bacteria which can often cause life threatening diseases like tick fever, flea infectious anaemia and more. In order to avoid these disease, preventing the initial tick or flea bite is important. There are many products on the market for flea and tick prevention, however some products can be toxic if used incorrectly. Do consult your veterinarian for safe and effective products.
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