The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) strongly recommends that, companion animals are regularly treated against parasites, both internal (e.g. worms) and external (e.g. fleas, ticks, mites), in the interests of animal health and welfare and, in the case of zoonotic infections, to minimise the risk to human health.

The BSAVA also recommends that appropriate hygiene measures are taken (e.g. removal of faeces from the environment and hand washing) in order to reduce the risk of worm infection.

The BSAVA recommends that owners should consult their veterinary surgeon to discuss the appropriate prevention and treatment for individual animals.

The BSAVA strongly encourages further valid scientific research into the epidemiology, control and prevention of all parasitic infections of cats in the UK (in particular those with zoonotic potential), and publication of such research so that it can be used by veterinary surgeons in decision-making. 

Background information

A benefit/risk assessment of each individual case should determine the choice of anthelmintic, spectrum of anthelmintic activity and frequency of administration. Particular attention should be given to the treatment of young animals. In cases of high risk or where there is increased zoonotic potential, maximum control according to the manufacturer’s recommendation is advised. In other cases, the risk of infection may be so low as to recommend intermittent anthelmintic therapy with longer inter-treatment intervals.

Local risk information should determine the spectrum of anthelmintic used and special consideration should be given to those animals travelling abroad or to areas of the UK in which different parasites are prevalent.

Related statements

Pet Travel

Further information





Dogs and worms 1999

Policy Statement No. 33 (Use of anthelmintics in dogs) 2004 with guidelines prepared by Maggie Fisher

Use of anthelmintics in cats (separate statement first appeared 2006 with guidelines by Maggie Fisher

Review of parasite control in Rabbits (Maggie Fisher 2008)

Updated 2012 Scientific Committee

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