Can a natural dewormer for dogs and cats work?

13th June 2016
Beryl Shuttleworth
3 Responses

Issues with traditional dewormers for dogs and cats

There are several groups of worms that can infect your pet – tapeworms, whipworms, roundworms, esophageal worms, thread worms, stomach worms and hookworms.  There are also various types of parasitic protozoa (eg. toxoplasma, giardia, and coccidia). Symptoms and treatments vary.

Conventional worming medications are starting to fail for various reasons – overuse, parasite resistance, etc.  It makes sense for us animal owners to investigate the possible use of natural wormers for parasite control. Are there any that actually work?

Diatomaceous Earth

Bennett et al, in 20110, experimented with diatomaceous earth, fed internally to two breeds of hens. It was found to decrease the parasite count in the one breed but not the other more parasite resistant breed. The species of parasites that were decreased were: Capillaria (roundworm), Eimeria (coccidia), Heterakis (roundworm).

Fernandez et al (1998) and Bernard et al (2009) found no anthelminthic (deworming) effect of diatomaceous earth in steers and goats.

However, Osweiler and Carson, in 1997, studied sheep and found “there was a trend toward lower fecal egg/gram counts in DE-treated lambs. DE by itself was not shown to be an effective parasite control agent, but could be used as part of a parasite control program.”

Clove (Syzygium)

A group of scientists in India studied the effect of Cloves on earthworms (because of their similarity to roundworms).  The cloves were found to be far more than 30 times more effective at killing the worms than Albendazole, a commonly used chemical wormer.

Another similar study showed cloves to be 7 times more effective than Piperazine, another chemical wormer.

Other species of parasites that cloves kill are: Caenorhabditis elegans and Rhabditis macrocerca and Ascaris suum (all roundworms).


Quoting scientists Bone and Morgan:

“Artemisia absinthium is well known to herbalists with particular application to treating nematode infestation, especially infestation with Enterobius (threadworm) or Ascaris (roundworm). Wormwood has been used as an anthelmintic since ancient times and is currently utilised in many countries throughout the world for this purpose. Wormwood tincture is employed in the West Indies as a worm preventative. Wormwood has also been used for the de-worming of horses, cows and sheep.

Constituents of the aerial parts of wormwood include bitter substances (sesquiterpene lactones, mainly absinthin) and an essential oil containing mainly terpenes. The essential oil contains the potentially toxic monoterpene thujone and for this reason the recommended therapeutic doses of wormwood should not be exceeded.

In vitro wormwood aqueous extract demonstrated anthelmintic activity towards the roundworm Trichostrongylus colubriformis.

Thujone is also implicated in the anthelmintic activity of wormwood. Experiments carried out in Edinburgh in 1955 indicated the efficacy of thujone in eliminating Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworm).

Wormwood aqueous extract and alcohol extract strongly inhibited the in vitro growth of the parasitic protozoa Naegleria fowleri. The sesquiterpene lact one fraction isolated from the alcohol extract was also active.  Wormwood powder (1.5 g/day) provided effective treatment for acute intestinal amoebiasis in an uncontrolled trial of 20 patients. Symptoms were relieved and 70% of cases were cleared of the protozoa Entamoeba histolytica according to stool analysis.

Pumpkin seeds

Plenty of evidence for this one too.

Scientists in China (Li et al) found that treatment with pumpkin seeds caused tapeworms (Taenia) to be expelled. Then, Feitosa et al showed pumpkin seed powder to be effective in generally reducing egg counts in ostriches.

There are plenty of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of pumpkin seeds against roundworms, tapeworms and others.

A natural dewormer for dogs and cats

It is my opinion that neither the conventional wormers, nor the alternative wormers are a complete solution. What I do with my animals is to alternate between the two. In this way not only am I getting more variety and hence less likelihood of resistance building up, but I am also minimising the side effects of chemical wormers by halving the quantity I use.

Find out more about The Herbal Pet’s Cleansing Formula


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