Intestinal Worms

In New Zealand there are intestinal worms that may have detrimental health effects on your cat or dog.

Intestinal Worms

Worming is one of the first health care issues pet owners need to address as pups and kittens are the most susceptible. As their name suggests, intestinal worms are parasites that live inside your pet’s intestines. These worms range in size from small to surprisingly large (up to 18cm in length). Regardless of their size however, they all have negative effects on the health of your pet.

Most species of animal, as well as humans, can be infected with intestinal worms including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, fish, birds and reptiles.  In humans, worms from animals can cause disease therefore it is important that we break the life cycle of these worms and prevent exposure.

Common intestinal worms in New Zealand pets are:

  • Roundworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Whipworm
  • Hookworm

If your pet has a large number of worms it may find it difficult to maintain body condition and it can lose weight. In some cases it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even anaemia (a low red blood cell level). Occasionally, heavy intestinal worm burdens can cause death.

Worms sometimes have complex lifecycles which involve a period of existence and development outside your pet. Understanding the life cycle of a specific worm is important so that strategies for treatment and prevention can be designed and implemented.  For instance, some tapeworms need to pass through fleas to complete their lifecycle, so flea prevention is an important method of controlling tapeworms.

It is important to maintain a routine worming treatment for your pets, to reduce the incidence of infection and to reduce environmental contamination. There are many worming treatments available for the various worm infections that occur in our pets. These are available as tablets, spot-ons, or pastes. Re-infection is a common problem, particularly in pets that are in contact with a heavily contaminated environment. Another very important reason to worm your pets is to protect your family; as children in particular can become infected with certain dog and cat worms.

Products Available:


Tablets are available with Drontal, Milbemax and Nexguard the most commonly used products. 

Liquid wormers such as Panacur can be used in very young puppies and kittens and Ivomectin oral, injectable or topical is sometimes used in small furries like rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits.


There are many topical products that can be placed on the back of neck that will absorb through the skin killing intestinal worms. These include Advocate Spot On, Bravecto Plus, Revolution and Broadline.

All of these products are available over the counter at Central Vets & Pets.


Below are some tips to consider regarding worm prevention:

  • Promptly clean up pet faeces
  • Practice good hygiene, always encourage children to wash their hands regularly (especially after playing in dirt or sandpits, playing with pets or prior to eating)
  • Prevent children from playing where the soil may be contaminated
  • Keep your pet's environment clean
  • When walking dogs, please collect all faeces for disposal.
  • Regularly treat your pet for worms using a broad spectrum product such as Drontal or Milbemax.  This should be given to puppies and kittens every 4 weeks until 6 months old and then every 3-6 months after that. 

Every pet has a different requirement for being wormed.  Please call us to discuss an intestinal worming program for your pet.  06 350 3950 or e mail us on and one of the team will be in touch.