Deworming Puppies and Dogs

Deworming Puppies and Dogs

More often than not, our dogs are victims of intestinal parasites, also referred as worms. Most of them develop immunity but at some point during stressful situations like pregnancy, illnesses and diseases, the immunity will break down. These worms then tend to multiply and later on produce symptoms of infection particularly in the intestines. Diarrhea, anemia, weight loss and presence of blood in the feces are the usual signs and symptoms for intestinal parasitism. On the other hand, some worms may cause few or no symptoms at all.

The most common parasites are roundworms and tapeworms which can be seen using you bare eyes, but other worms can’t easily be diagnosed. Sometimes eggs or larvae of Ascaris, hookworms and threadworms migrate in the tissues of the dog and activated only in stressful situations. If worms are suspected, a stool sample should be brought to the veterinarian at least once or twice a year for microscopic examination. Proper diagnosis is important so that the safest and the most effective medication will be prescribed. No particular drug is effective for all kinds of parasite, although some may be effective against more than one species.  It is not right to deworm the dog who suffers from unexplained illness without proper consultation and diagnosis.

DEWORMING A PUPPY

Ascaris and hookworms are most common to puppies. There is presence of other parasites but they are rare. It is recommended to let you veterinarian examine the stool first before giving any deworming agent. Some might need a much stronger and a broader-spectrum medication due to the severity of the case.

Usually, puppies are dewormed at 2 weeks of age before eggs of the Ascaris are eliminated in the feces, and once again in 4th, 6th and 8th week after birth. Then, a monthly deworming is required until 6 months. With this schedule, there will be a higher chance of eliminating all the eggs of the Ascaris even though it is passed through pregnancy, lactation and ingestion. Pyrantel pamoate (suspension) is the drug-of-choice for this because it is safe for a 2 week old puppy. Heartworm prevention will then be given by the veterinarian to eliminate presence of roundworms and hookworms.

Deworming agents may be harmful to puppies, especially those who are suffering from respiratory problems, high body temperature and those who live in an unsanitary surrounding. These problems ought to be corrected before giving any deworming medication. Keep in mind not to deworm any puppy with diarrhea without any confirmation from the physician that this symptom is caused by worms.

DEWORMING A DOG

Veterinarians would usually recommend that dogs should be dewormed at least once a year or only when there is a reason to do so like persistent diarrhea because of the presence of intestinal parasites. If your pet lives in an unsanitary environment, it would be best to deworm them every 3 or 6 months depending on the recommendation of the veterinarian and the case of the dog. They can also take a yearlong preventive medication for heartworms which protects them from most worms.

PREVENTION

Treating and eradicating worms in the environment is vital before these infect other dogs, and human beings. One must remove dog’s feces in the lawn or in the backyard at least twice a week or every other day using appropriate equipment like gloves, masks and aprons. Have a stool sample for the bi-annual microscopic examination. During a walk with your dog in the park or in your neighborhood, remove the feces your dog left so that your dog doesn’t pass the worms or contaminate other dogs. Do not let your dog take any medication or dewormer unless prescribed by the physician in order not to develop resistance to these drugs.

Nevertheless, it’s always an excellent idea to maintain a worm-free dog so that if any stressful situation occurs, your dog will be spared from having a parasitic infection.

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