There are basically two types of parasites
that invade our dogs – worm and nonworm. There are four types of
worms – hook worms, round worms, whip worms, and tape worms and
the most common nonworm parasites are giardia and coccidia. Hook
and round worms are the most common worms. We treat our puppies
(and moms) for them every two weeks beginning at either 2 or 3
weeks of age using strongid (pyrantel pamoate). At 6-8 weeks of
age we treat for all worms (and one nonworm parasite) with a three
day treatment of panacur. We will also send you home with puppy's
next deworming treatment if necessary. It is important that
puppies be dewormed on a consistent schedule. Dewormers kill adult
worms by paralyzing them causing them to detach from the intestine
and subsequently pass through the stool. However, dewormers are
not effective in killing the eggs adult worms leave behind. When
these eggs hatch it becomes necessary to repeat treatment. After a
few treatments, worm and egg numbers dwindle down and dewormings
can be done less frequently. Usually a puppies' last deworming is
concurrent with their last set of vaccinations.
Most vets will want to do a fecal exam before administering a dewormer. Although it is not necessary every time you visit the vet, we strongly encourage everyone to have at least two fecals done. In this way, you will know exactly what kind and amount of worms your puppy has and most importantly, you can ask your vet to check for nonworm parasites (coccidia and giardia). These parasites are smaller and much harder to see in the microscope, but a good vet will take the time to look and will not charge you any additional fees to do so. If present, they are easily treatable with albon or other medications. We are currently working on implementing a preventative treatment for nonworm parasites and administering it as part of our regular deworming schedule. Puppies get these parasites by drinking standing water or by stepping on the stools of an infected dog.
After treating for any parasite, it is
important to promptly dispose of stools to prevent reinfection.
The most effective way to prevent reinfection is to have puppy
poop on concrete or other surface that can be cleaned and
disinfected. This will eliminate the chances of parasites ending
up in the soil waiting to reinfect puppy, creating a vicious cycle
that can become difficult to break.
Parasites in puppies are largely unavoidable and can become life threatening if left untreated. Luckily, they are easily treatable with medication administered on a consistent schedule.