Intestinal parasites are “worms” that live within your dog or cat’s gastrointestinal tract. The most common intestinal parasites are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, giardia, and coccidia. Intestinal parasites are generally transmitted when your cat or dog ingests eggs or spores from contaminated soil, food, or feces, and tapeworms can be transmitted when cats or dogs eat infected fleas. Puppies and kittens are generally infected in utero or from nursing from an infected dog.



A diagnosis is made through fecal testing or by the visualization of worms in the stool. Veterinary fecal testing has advanced significantly in the past several years. Testing is far more sensitive than previous, with some tests resulting in positive infection before the onset of clinical signs.


Intestinal parasites are treated with targeting dewormers specifically prescribed to treat the parasite that your pet has been diagnosed with. Certain parasites, such as giardia and hookworms, may be more challenging to eliminate and required prolonged or repeat treatments.


Most intestinal parasites can be prevented with the same monthly preventive that protects against heartworm infection! Ask your veterinarian for more information.