New Puppy Owner cont’d…

 Deworming- Nearly all puppies are born with intestinal parasites such as roundworm and hookworm, whether the mother was dewormed or not. The reason for this is the life-cycle of the parasites. Both roundworms and hookworms spend the majority of their life in the migratory phase. Immature larval worms migrate through the tissues of the body until they eventually make their way into the lungs, from which they are coughed up, swallowed, and develop into adult worms in the intestines which lay eggs that can be found via a microscopic examination of the pup’s feces. This migration of parasites has a number of implications. Dewormers are not very effective against the migratory phase. Therefore, mothers can pass the worms to their pups in utero, or to nursing pups in milk. That’s why nearly all puppies have worms.

More importantly, these parasites may, on occasion, infect people, especially children, through exposure to eggs or hatched larvae in the soil. A child who plays in dirt in which an infected dog had defecated weeks before may be infected by hookworm larvae penetrating the soles of wet feet, or by hookworm or roundworm eggs from teh soil on their hands entering the mouth when the child eats or drinks. The larvae can migrate to major organs such as the liver or eye.

The way to protect ourselves is to deworm our puppies at least 3 times with four weeks between dewormings. This allows migratory phases of the worms to develop into adult in the intestines susceptible to our dewormers. Following this, if we keep our pets on monthly parasite prevention for heartworm, this will also help protect against hookworm and roundworms.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least 3 rounds of dewormer for puppies and kittens, in order to protect our childre. Other precautions include: wearing gloves when gardening, restricting where our pets are allowed to defecate, cleaning pet droppings from the yard, and washing our heands after handling pet feces or soil.

Please see your veterinarian to set up a series of “well-puppy” visits for that new family member. A happy healthy puppy is a joy to all who meet him. Feel free to post any questions.

Randal Burris, DVM


Arrow Springs Animal Hospital

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