Symptoms of Internal Parasites in Your Pet and What to Do

Symptoms of Internal Parasites in Your Pet and What to Do

August 15, 2021

Yearly visits to your veterinarian are important for keeping your dog or cat in good health. During an annual visit, your vet will take stool samples to check for the presence of intestinal parasites. How do you treat intestinal parasites in cats and dogs? Here’s a brief guide to identifying parasites in pets as well as how to treat them.


How can you tell if your dog or cat has a parasite? The most obvious signs include worms in your pet’s stool, bedding or below their tail. Serious health issues are another indication that your pet may be living with a parasite. Here are some of the most common symptoms of intestinal parasites in pets:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Scooting
  • Distended belly
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Dull coat


How do you treat intestinal parasites in cats and dogs? Only your trusted veterinarian can answer that question. If you suspect your pet has a parasite, visiting your pet’s vet as soon as possible is the most important thing you can do.

Your veterinarian will first take a stool sample to check for parasites. The vet mixes the sample with a solution that helps detect the presence of microscopic eggs in the stool. In some cases, like detecting the single-celled parasite giardia, a routine stool sample test is insufficient for detection, and a special solution will be added to the sample. Other parasites like tapeworms can cause false negatives, which is why multiple fecal tests over a period of time are sometimes required for diagnosis.


Once your vet has made a diagnosis, she will determine the best course of action to take to remove the parasite. If intestinal worms are detected, the typical course of action is to use a deworming solution. Remember to follow the vet’s recommendation and never use an over-the-counter dewormer that’s not as effective as the medicine a vet can provide. In the case of puppies and kittens, automatic deworming is usually recommended.


Proactive pet owners can keep parasites from harming the health of their pets. Some simple things you can do to prevent infection by intestinal parasites include:

  • Cleaning up pet droppings quickly to prevent infection
  • Making sure your pet always has a source of fresh, clean water
  • Preventing your pet from eating grass or dirt
  • Keeping your pet away from droppings left behind by other animals
  • Provide your pet with monthly heartworm and flea prevention medicines

Now that you know how to tell if your dog or cat has a parasite, you should always be on the lookout for some of the major signs and symptoms to get the situation under control should a parasite find its way into your pet’s body. Remaining vigilant, in addition to visiting your vet at least once a year for a checkup, will go a long way toward keeping your pet in good health. Reach out to St. Francisville Animal Hospital to schedule your visit and to learn more about protecting the health and wellbeing of your furry friend.

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