Intestinal Parasites

The Importance of Routine Treatment

Routine deworming removes the intestinal parasites from your pet’s system. Many of the heartworm prevention options for dogs and cats we carry, have broad spectrum coverage against intestinal parasites. So, as you prevent their heartworm disease, you are also doing routine deworming.

Are Humans at
Risk Too?

The short answer is yes! Because we have such a high concentration of parasites in our environment, it is more common for people to get intestinal parasites here. Letting a pet lick your face is a risk as well and should ideally be avoided.

Where do they come from?

Intestinal parasites are extremely common here, due to our roaming domestic animal population. Animal’s that have intestinal parasites, leave deposits of their eggs within their stool, which are then in our soil. All it takes is a pet to lick its paws after being outside, eating food that is on the ground, rolling in the dirt or licking the floor after we walk in with our shoes to get exposed and ingest intestinal parasite eggs. In addition, animals that have fleas or have eaten an animal with fleas, will nearly always have tapeworms as the flea is a common host of tapeworm larvae.

Why are Intestinal Parasites so Concerning?

Intestinal parasites are detrimental in numerous ways to mammals. Hookworms and whipworms take a blood meal from their host, so they can cause severe anemia and can kill puppies and kittens, whereas roundworms and tapeworms clog up the intestinal tract and take nutrients from the host. This can lead to poor growth and death in puppies and kittens, leaky vessels due lack of protein,  poor body condition, and dull and brittle haircoats in adult animals. In severe cases in adult animals, it can lead to blockage of the intestinal tract as well. It more mild cases, we will often see diarrhea and vomiting. 

The Role of Tapeworms…again.

Tapeworms utilize fleas as hosts, which means when a pet ingests a flea, which happens as they clean themselves or eat another animal infested with fleas, they then infect themselves with tapeworms. Tapeworms are an intestinal parasite that utilizes the hosts nutrition to survive, grow and breed. Leading to weight loss, poor haircoat, reduced gastrointestinal movement and function, and poor condition of the pet overtime. The only telltale sign of tapeworms, other than the changes in weight and haircoat, are often rice like segments you may see on their bedding or in their perianal area. These are living segments of a tapeworm that are ready to infect a new host.

How do Newborn Puppies and Kittens Get Parasites?

They receive these from their mother both through the bloodstream and via the milk they give their young. Routine deworming of the mother should happen daily from 45 days gestation, until 14 days after birth. The puppies and kittens whose mothers have undergone this treatment regimen, are born much larger and healthier.
After that, the pups or kittens should be routinely dewormed every 2 weeks starting at 4 weeks of age.

Diagnosis of Intestinal Parasite Disease

A fecal floatation is the best way to diagnosis hook, round and whipworms. Seeing the segments is the easiest way to diagnose tapeworms. The fecal floatation allows us to visualize the microscopic eggs and then determine based on the distinct look of them and volume of them, what type of worm and how severe the worm burden is. We then have an arsenal of several different dewormers that can target the specific culprit and remove the worms from your pet’s system.

Treatments and Prevention

Treatment is fairly economical and it can come in the form of an oral pill, liquid or injection or some combination thereof. In puppies and kittens, their full potential on growth and size can be significantly affected by having a lack of proper deworming, so prevention and treatment are key for having a healthy, full grown, robust pet.