Deworming your pet is an integral aspect of pet care. While nearly 85% of kittens and puppies are born with parasitic infections, most animals develop immunity over time. However, illness and stress can weaken the body’s response to fight off these parasites and can awaken any dormant larvae living in your pet.
Intestinal parasites affect growth and development and can be transferred between pets and pet owners. If you think your pet might be suffering from a parasitic infection, at Alta Vista Animal Hospital we can perform fecal exams to detect microscopic parasite eggs and determine an infection.
Whether purchasing your deworming medication from your vet, online, or from a local store, be sure to consult with your veterinarian about which dewormer is best for your pet’s age, infection type, and current medical status. Different dewormers target different parasites – you cannot buy any medication and assume it will work. It is also important to administer the medication as prescribed. While the anthelmintic (active ingredient in the medication) is a poison meant to directly target the parasites, pets weakened by parasitic infection might be too fragile for the toxicity of the medication and an overdose is possible if directions are not followed.
Typically, newborn puppies and kittens are dewormed every two weeks starting at the age of 2 weeks old. They should be continually dewormed every two weeks until they reach 6 months of age. The mother should also be dewormed along the same schedule as her offspring to prevent infection when drinking her milk.
How to control parasites
Parasites are known for their ability to continually re-contaminate their host. In order to control parasites, destroying the eggs and larvae before re-infestation is critical. To achieve this, pet owners must maintain clean and dry living areas for their pets.
Pets should be kept in areas that are easy to remove waste from, wash out, and keep clean such as cement or gravel. Dirt and grass should be avoided when possible. Pet waste needs to be removed daily, and fleas need to be exterminated.