Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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Worms in Pets

One of the great things about owning a pet in the Edmonton area is that the climate we have limits the number of parasites that owners will have to worry about. Many of the ticks, fleas and insects that bite cats and dogs cannot survive in our outdoors. The frozen ground of our winters is too hostile to allow most of the internal parasites to survive long enough to contaminate. Even with our harsh climate, there are some worms that are found in the dogs and cats in the Morinville area. Fortunately, these worms are easily treated.

The two types of worms that are by far most common are tapeworms and roundworms. Neither of these parasites can be passed directly from one one adult pet to another, or to a person. In both cases, the worms contaminate the environment, then develop into a form that can infect a pet.

Tapeworms are a parasite that are swallowed by a pet (or a person) a cyst in a flea or a prey animal. That is why cats that catch birds and mice develop tapeworms. Once in the intestine, these worms grab onto the wall and begin to grow a segmented tail. Each segment is an independent body capable of developing into a new cyst. As the tail gets longer, cysts are dropped off the end and shed in the feces. These cysts in the environment are consumed by flea larvae or small animals and the cycle is continued.

Roundworms have a slightly more complicated life cycle. These intestinal worms can be picked up by swallowing eggs or larvae from contaminated soil, eating prey that have roundworms, or passed from mother to babies (in dogs, this can even occur before the puppies are born). There are many species of roundworms that can live in the bodies of dogs and cats, but only one species that can complete its life cycle in either species, and dogs and cats each have one species that are specific to them.

Once swallowed, immature roundworms either develop into mature worms in the intestine (that is the species that both dogs and cats get) or migrate out of the intestine to mature in the tissues of the body (those are the two species that each dogs and cats get). The larvae can form cysts in muscle or organs, or they can migrate to the lungs to be coughed up and swallowed as adult worms. Once there, they can attach to the wall of the intestine and reproduce. One additional path for roundworms is in pregnant animals. The species in cats will have larvae migrate to the mammary glands, and infect the kittens through the milk. The species in dogs has the larvae migrate to both the uterus and mammary glands, and infect puppies from both places.

It is worth noting that children can pick up these roundworms in contaminated areas. The larvae will migrate through their skin and form cysts. This is just one more good reason to treat your pets regularly for worms.

If you suspect your cat or dog may have worms please contact the animal hospital team at Morinville Veterinary Clinic. We are happy to answer all of your questions!



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Last updated: July 23, 2020

Dear Clients,

Thank you for choosing Morinville Veterinary Clinic for your pets' veterinary needs. As we continue to adjust to the "new normal," we have implemented new protocols to keep you and our team safe.

It is still preferred that you stay in your vehicle while we bring your pet in for their appointment. However, as of Monday, July 21, 2020, we will be allowing one client to accompany their pet during their visit.

Along with wearing a face mask and using hand sanitizer, any client wishing to be present during an exam will need to record your name, phone number and email address for contact tracing purposes, in compliance with Alberta Health requirements.

Should you choose to come in with your pet, we kindly ask that you comply with the following protocols:

  • Our doors will remain locked. Please call us at 780.939.3133 upon your arrival.
  • Physical distance with staff and other clients while inside the building.
  • Face coverings must be worn to enter the clinic.
  • Use hand washing station upon entry.
  • Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • Continue with curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".
  • If you wish to wait in your vehicle during the appointment, when you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. We will take a history of your pet's health and discuss any concerns. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will call you to discuss the recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a staff member will return your pet to you outside, and take care of any needed medications and payment.

    If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.


    We are OPEN with the following hours:

    - Monday to Friday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
    - Saturday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
    - Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Morinville Veterinary Clinic