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Deworming your pet is an integral aspect of pet care. Nearly 90% of kittens and puppies are born with parasitic infections, through migration from the mother via the placenta or milk. Intestinal parasites can affect growth and development in young animals, as well as cause diarrhea and weight loss. Diagnosis is through fecal exams to detect microscopic eggs. These eggs are shed in a cyclic manner, so it is important to check multiple fecal samples.
Common internal parasites:
Deworming medications (anthelmintics) vary depending on your pet’s age, current medical status, and type of parasite. While the dewormers used today are very safe there can be side effects, so it is important to administer the medication as prescribed.
Typically, newborn puppies and kittens are dewormed every two weeks starting at the age of 2 weeks old. They should continue a schedule of deworming until their stool samples are free of parasites. The mother should be dewormed before pregnancy to try to prevent infecting her offspring.
How to control parasites
Parasites are known for their ability to continually re-contaminate their host and the environment. In many cases the outside environment cannot be decontaminated. Heartworm preventative products such a Heartgard and Interceptor also prevent infection with many intestinal parasites, and should be used on a monthly basis long term. Pet waste from infected dogs should be removed on a daily basis, and wiping your pets rear end after defecating is helpful in preventing re-infection. Fleas can carry tapeworms and should be controlled with a monthly flea/ tick preventative.