Yucky, right? Nobody likes worms. They’re gross, they’re destructive, and they intend to live inside your pets as long as they can, literally sucking the life out of them.
Here’s what you need to know.
Cat and Dog Worms commonly found in Indiana
There are basically six intestinal parasites of veterinary significance in Indiana: Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms, Coccidia, and Giardia.
ROUNDWORMS AND HOOKWORMS:
Both Roundworms and Hookworms can be transmitted to young from their mom – so your poor little puppy or kitten may literally be born with worms. Or, if the puppy or kitten happens to eat one of the eggs found in mom’s poop, or their own poop, they’ll get the worms again.
It takes 2-4 weeks for either a Hookworm egg or a Roundworm egg to develop into an egg-laying adult.
Dewormers only kill adult worms. So even if you deworm your puppy or kitten today, if they JUST ate an egg, they’ll have worms again in 2-3 weeks.
So recommendations for Roundworms and Hookworms are pretty straightforward: deworm puppies and kittens starting at two weeks of age, and EVERY two to three weeks until the end of their vaccine series.
It takes under 14 days for an ingested whipworm egg to develop into an adult, but that adult won’t start laying eggs until it is between 74-90 days old. That means your puppy can have whipworms for up to THREE MONTHS and still have a negative stool test every time. Argh!
Whipworms are NOT passed in utero to puppies, so a brand new pup would have to eat one of the eggs in mom’s poop to get whipworms.
Recommendations for whipworms therefore are to a) check mom for worms, and if she has them, treat them at 2-3 week intervals until you get a negative stool result, and b) treat exposed puppies at least twice during their routine vaccine series.
Coccidia are not worms, they are tiny little parasites that live within the cells of the intestines. Coccidia eggs can develop into egg-laying adults within 9 days. Ponazuril appears effective to treat coccidia, so in a shelter or rescue situation, it makes sense to treat every puppy and kitten with ponazuril before they are adopted out.
Tapeworms are transmitted either by fleas (D. caninum) or by eating infected rodents (Taenia taeniaeformis, cats) or rabbits (Echinococcus granulosus and Taenia pisiformis, dogs). A single treatment of praziquantel will remove all the tapeworms from the cat or dog, but continued flea and rodent/rabbit control is necessary to prevent reinfestation.
Dogs and cats should not be fed raw or undercooked fish or other vertebrate tissue, to prevent tapeworm transmittion.
Giardia is also not a worm, but rather a tiny little free-living swimming parasite. Giardia diagnosis and treatment is not nearly as clear-cut as with roundworms and hookworms because NORMAL, NON-SYMPTOMATIC dogs and cats may have Giardia in their intestines that NEVER CAUSES DISEASE. Just because your pet is positive for Giardia doesn’t mean they require treatment.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends testing symptomatic (intermittently or consistently diarrheic) dogs and cats with a combination of direct smear, fecal flotation with centrifugation, and a sensitive, specific fecal ELISA optimized for use in companion animals. Repeat testing performed over several (usually alternating) days may be necessary to identify infection. Giardia is treated with fenbendazole (50 mg/kg SID) for 5 days. We do NOT recommend routine prophylactic treatment for Giardia in young, healthy puppies and kittens.
SO, HERE ARE THE OFFICIAL LEO’S PET CARE GUIDELINES for SUCCESSFULLY DEWORMING A PUPPY OR KITTEN:
This list will expand with further posts, but for now I’ve only included information from my previous post on vaccine protocols:
2 WEEKS OF AGE: Pyrantel pamoate and ponazuril (treats roundworms, hookworms and coccidia)
4 WEEKS OF AGE: Pyrantel pamoate and ponazuril
6 WEEKS OF AGE: Pyrantel pamoate, mebendazole, ponazuril, first set of vaccines, and check the poop using proper veterinary intestinal worms testing guidelines. (treats roundworms, hookworms, coccidia and whipworms)
9 WEEKS OF AGE: Pyrantel pamoate, mebendazole, ponazuril, second set of vaccines
12 WEEKS OF AGE: Pyrantel pamoate, mebendazole, ponazuril, fecal test, third set of vaccines
If at any time tapeworms are seen, treat with a single injection of praziquantel and make sure fleas and prey animals are being controlled.
If at any time Giardia is diagnosed in a cat or dog with diarrhea, treat with five days of fenbendazole and recheck poop in ten days.
Following these deworming protocols will keep your puppies and kittens free of intestinal worms!
Next, we’ll discuss heartworm disease…