Yonge Sheppard Animal Hospital

102 – 280 Sheppard Ave E., Toronto, ON M2N 3B1 | 647-260-8387 | yonge.sheppard.vets@gmail.com

The Essential Guide to Puppies and Parasites

When it comes to puppies, their health and well-being are of utmost importance. One aspect that puppy owners need to be aware of is the presence of parasites. Parasites can have a significant impact on the health of puppies and may even pose risks to human health. Let’s discuss the prevalence of parasites in puppies, their zoonotic potential, and provide recommendations for early deworming and parasite control.

Topics Covered:

Prevalence of Parasites in Puppies

Puppies are highly susceptible to intestinal parasites, and the prevalence of these parasites in young dogs is alarmingly high. Common intestinal parasites in puppies include roundworms, giardia,  hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. These parasites can cause a range of health issues, including diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and poor growth.

 

To ensure the health and well-being of puppies, it is crucial to provide routine preventive deworming and regular fecal examinations during the first year of life. These examinations help identify the presence of parasites and allow for timely treatment. Veterinarians recommend more frequent fecal examinations in puppies due to their higher susceptibility to parasitic infections.

 

Zoonotic Potential of Parasites

Parasites not only affect the health of puppies but can also pose risks to human health. Zoonotic parasites are those that can be transmitted between animals and humans. For example, roundworms can be transmitted to humans, especially children, through contact with contaminated soil or feces. This can lead to a condition known as visceral larva migrans, which can cause various symptoms and complications.

 

It is essential for puppy owners to be aware of the zoonotic potential of parasites and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of these parasites to humans. This includes practicing good hygiene, regularly deworming puppies, and promptly removing feces from the environment.

 

Early Deworming in Puppies

To combat the high prevalence of parasites in puppies, early deworming is recommended. Deworming should ideally start at 2 weeks of age and be repeated every 2 weeks until the puppy is started on year-round parasite control. This early intervention helps eliminate existing parasites and reduces the risk of further infestation.

Deworming should be done before starting year-round parasite control

Some parasite preventive medications may not be effective against your pups existing infections, and deworming helps ensure their effectiveness. At your first visit your veterinarian will create a tailored parasite prevention plan for your puppy based on its previous medication history and lifestyle.

Heartworm Prevention in Puppies: An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure.

Heartworm disease is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by infected mosquitoes. Puppies can become infected with heartworm larvae at a young age, making early prevention crucial. Most heartworm preventives can be started as early as 4–8 weeks of age, as recommended by the label.

Starting heartworm preventive medication early helps protect puppies from this serious disease. Luckily the prevalence in Southern Ontario is quite low and Heartworm preventives are typically administered monthly from June to November. The medications provide continuous protection against heartworm infection.

Flea and Tick Control in Puppies:

Fleas and ticks are not only irritating for puppies but can also transmit diseases and cause significant discomfort. In our neighborhood, ticks have become an increasingly worrisome issue to a point where all dogs should be on tick prevention from March to November. It is advisable to start flea and tick control as early as recommended by the product label, usually around 6–8 weeks of age. Flea and tick control products come in various forms, including topical treatments and oral medications.

By implementing flea and tick control early on, puppy owners can protect their furry companions from the risks associated with these parasites. Regular use of effective flea and tick control products helps prevent infestations, reduces the chances of diseases, and ensures the overall well-being of puppies.

 

Conclusion

Our puppies are vulnerable to parasites, and it is crucial to address this issue early on. The prevalence of intestinal parasites in puppies is high, and regular deworming and fecal examinations during the first year of life is essential. Additionally, parasites can pose risks to human health, emphasizing the need for awareness and preventive measures.

 

Early deworming, starting at 2 weeks of age and repeating every 2 weeks until year-round parasite control is initiated, is recommended. Heartworm prevention and flea and tick control should also be initiated as early as recommended by the label. By following these recommendations, puppy owners can ensure the health and well-being of their beloved pets.

FAQs

1. When should I start deworming my puppy?

Deworming should ideally start at 2 weeks of age and be repeated every 2 weeks until the puppy is started on year-round parasite control.

2. Can parasites in puppies be transmitted to humans?

Yes, certain parasites can be transmitted to humans. It is important to practice good hygiene and regularly deworm puppies to prevent the spread of zoonotic parasites.

3. What is the zoonotic potential of roundworms?

Roundworms can be transmitted to humans, especially children, through contact with contaminated soil or feces. This can lead to a condition known as visceral larva migrans.

4. When should I start heartworm prevention in my puppy?

Most heartworm preventives can be started as early as 4–8 weeks of age, as recommended by the label.

5. Why is flea and tick control important for puppies?

Fleas and ticks can transmit diseases and cause discomfort for puppies. Starting flea and tick control early helps prevent infestations and ensures the overall well-being of puppies.