What is a worm egg count and are they worth it?
Worm egg counts are becoming more popular amongst pet parents and vet experts, and it’s easy to see why.
If you've ever wondered if there was an alternative to using deworming medication monthly or every three months, there is!
And it's more affordable, more sustainable and can prevent unnecessary trips to the vets.
Sound too good to be true? Well, we pawmise it's really not! It's also super important to regularly use deworming treatments, so you should stick around.
Industry experts are actively advocating for responsible pet ownership; which includes pro-actively planning, preventing and controlling parasites in your pets.
That starts with finding out if you need to use a worming medication for your cat or dog.
What is a worm egg count?
With a worm egg count, you collect a stool sample at home and send it to the laboratory.
Here, they check under a microscope and count how many and the type of worm eggs they can see.
The results can then determine whether you need to monitor your pet’s poo or if a worming treatment is necessary.
Is it worth it?
Absolutely! Our pets can pick up parasites from all kinds of places! Fleas, on walks, in the garden or from slurping up things they shouldn’t!
We need to make sure we are keeping them protected and healthy. And we also need to protect our other family members as some parasites can transmit to humans!
In households with children, the elderly or immunosuppressed people, it is especially important to routinely monitor, prevent and control parasites.
This way, pet parents use the correct treatment according to the species of worm identified!
There are several factors that determine how often it’s recommended for you to deworm your pet, or use a worm egg count.
You raw feed
Although for most commercial raw food certain measures are taken during the production process to freeze the foods and kill off any bacteria and parasites - this is not 100% effective.
For anyone that raw feeds their dogs, we would recommend regular deworming or worm egg counts to check for parasites for the health of your pet and family.
Your dog is prone to fleas
Immature fleas act as a host and carry tapeworms. When dogs groom and lick themselves, they swallow the fleas, and the tapeworm develops on the intestines.
If you notice any fleas on your pet or do not regularly use flea medication, we recommend checking with a worm egg count or using deworming treatment.
You don’t want to worm unnecessarily
There have been studies looking into parasites developing resistance to worming medications.
Although it hasn't been confirmed, it is a possibility, similar to how scientists are researching antibiotic resistance.
If you have a dog that's at low risk for contracting worms, or if you want to know if you even need to use worming medication - a worm egg count is the answer!
As well as saving you time, a worm egg count test stops you from spending money when you don’t have to!
To make sure your worming treatment works
Many factors can affect whether your worming medication has worked.
For instance, some pets may vomit in the garden after being given a worming tablet and you might not even notice!
Similarly, if it's a challenge to give a tablet (cat parents we’re looking at you!) and most of it disintegrates by the time you’ve managed to get it into your pet, this can have an impact on the efficacy of the treatment too!
If you put the medication in your pet's food, how sure can you be that they ate it?
Likewise, if you just want to check that your medication has worked, especially following a heavy burden of intestinal worms, worm egg counts can offer additional peace of mind.
You want to worm less often but remain protected
A worm egg count (WEC) is a great way to check if you need to give deworming medication.
If there is no evidence in the WEC to suggest giving medication unnecessarily, it's easy to monitor worms without treatment.
Your dog is a scavenger or a grass eater
All sorts of eggs can be found on your dog walks!
If you have a greedy pup that eats grass, farm animal faeces, or generally picks up unknown objects and gobbles them quickly, it's better to use a WEC to see if they have contracted any pesky worms.
Your cat is a hunter
If you have a cat that goes outdoors and is known to catch birds, mice, rats or any living creature, a worm egg count test kit can be a great way to identify if it's time to deworm!
If you have an indoor cat
An indoor cat could be considered at low risk for worm infestations.
However, fleas or flea eggs can be brought into the home on human shoes or clothing.
Some indoor cats may spend time in the garden every now and then, where fleas can also be picked up.
Even if you are not giving worming medication to indoor cats, it is a must to check at least twice a year whether they do have evidence of worms, using a worm egg count.
Just like we mentioned above with our doggo friends - If your cat is prone to fleas, you don’t want to worm unnecessarily, or you want to make sure your wormer is working - A worm egg count is something you should explore.
Similarly, if you want to cut back on pet care costs and worm your pet less but keep them protected and healthy, it’s an affordable and more convenient solution.
If you want to know more about our Worm Egg Count Test Kits, you can book a free consultation with our registered vet nurse (RVN) below.
Buddycare promotes the responsible use of parasite treatments and our RVNs can help pet parents pick suitable parasite protection.
Our vet nurses will always direct you to a vet when they believe prescription products might be required instead.
See what all the fuss is about and protect your buddy with our home-based Worm Egg Count Test Kits here.