According to many reports up to 80% of puppies and kittens are either born with or will quickly aquire intestinal parasites. The most common parasites are:
Roundworm: these parasites can cause a potbellied appearence and a dull coat. More severe symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing. Adult worms can be coughed up or passed in the feces along with eggs. While the eggs are micoscopic the adult worms will be visible. They have a spaghetti like appearence.
Hookworms: microscopic intestinal worms that cause anemia and in severe cases death.
Tapeworm: long, flat, and segmented. Your pet gets this parasite by ingesting fleas, eating feces from an infected animal, or eating an infected animal. Tapeworm segments are passed in the feces. they resemble rice. the segments can also be found on the fur around the anus.
Whipworm: less prevalent but once your pet is infected it will take multiple treatments to rid them of this intestinal parasite. Because whipworm can lie dormant in the ground for a long time disinfecting the dogs area with bleach solution, if concrete, and soil replacement will be needed.
8 weeks: first deworming
12 weeks: second deworming
6 months: first fecal exam
A fecal exam should be repeated yearly to ensure that you keep your pet free of intestinal parasites.
Why Is It Important?
Intestinal parasites can cause many health problems for your pet. The parasite steals vital nutrients from its host which can leave the host unable to fight off other infections. Also, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms can be tranferred to humans.
Intestinal parasites live in our enviroment. They are in the dirt, sand, and water. They are deposited by other animals feces. Raccoon feces harbor roundworms. Rabbit feces will be inhabited by tapeworm. Keeping your yard clean and picked up of feces is the first step to prevention. For dogs, you can keep them on a monthly heartworm preventative all year round that also covers intestinal parasites.