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Worms. It’s one of those terms that is immediately unsettling for pet parents. A puppy having worms is a pretty common occurrence, but new and unprepared puppy owners will be in for quite a shock when they see living things in their puppy’s poop for the first time. But don’t worry, when caught early, most cases of worms can be treated easily by your vet.
And speaking of vets, they are unsurprisingly crucial to diagnosing and treating your puppy’s worms. We strongly recommend that you bring your new puppy in to see a vet within the first week of bringing him home. For this first appointment, you’ll want to bring any records or information you have about your puppy with you, including purchase records, vaccines records, deworming records, health history, and past and current medications. In your first check-up, your vet will be able to determine if your puppy has worms by performing both a physical examination and a fecal check. Additionally, this first check-up will allow your vet to assess your puppy’s overall health, administer vaccinations, and provide you with an opportunity to ask a professional any new puppy related questions you may have.
Today, in part one of our worms series, we’ll be discussing whipworms and tapeworms. In later installments, we’ll be covering roundworms, hookworms, giardia, and coccidia. Keep up with all of our latest puppy news on our puppy care page.
What Are Worms?
What are these worms, where do puppies get them, does my puppy have worms, and how do you get rid of them? We’re glad you asked. The term “worms” can actually refer to a wide variety of gastrointestinal parasites. Each type of worm will need its own specialized treatment to clear up. Read up on each gastrointestinal parasites’ profile below. It may seem icky, but knowing the difference between common gastrointestinal parasites can do your pup a lot of good.
Does Your Puppy Have Whipworms?
There are several types of Whipworms, the most common is the Trichuris vulpis, and it can be a significant cause of diarrhea for puppies. The whipworm eggs are quite resistant and can live in an environment for up to five years. This is why your vet will urge you not to take your puppy out for walks or to public venues while young. Typically, a puppy can become infected after he ingests eggs from his environment, either by eating them off the ground or by licking them off their nose after sniffing the grass.
After the eggs have reached a puppy’s stomach, it takes about three months for the eggs to mature to adults and begin shedding additional eggs. These adults then burrow into the small intestine and feed on blood and tissue. Ick. Eggs are then passed in the feces where you may see them while scooping up your pup’s poo. These parasites are tricky because their eggs don’t shed all the time, meaning that your puppy may need repeated fecal examinations to diagnose his whipworm infection.
The most commonly used medication to treat whipworms is fenbendazole which is administered for three days consecutively. But, since whipworm is notoriously difficult to get rid of, your vet may recommend an additional treatment after three weeks, and again after three months.
Does Your Puppy Have Tapeworms?
Tapeworms; it’s a word that makes your skin crawl. And no, you cannot get tapeworms from your puppy. There are two types of tapeworms, Taenia and Dipylidium. You’ll most likely notice your puppy’s tapeworms after they have passed their egg packet in their poo. You may also notice the egg packets on your puppy’s fur. Egg packets, also known as proglottids, contain multiple eggs and appear about six to eight weeks after ingestion of an infective tapeworm egg.
Taenia tapeworms are acquired when an animal ingests an infected rabbit or rodent, so keep an eye on your puppy if you allow her off leash time in your backyard. Dead animals can still be very dangerous. Dipylidium tapeworms are acquired when an animal ingests an infected flea; this is why vets recommend you keep your puppy away from other animals, with the exception of vet-approved activities, while they are young. Once your puppy ingests a tapeworm, the egg hatches in the stomach and begins to invade the walls of the intestines. The worm then matures into a larva and then to an adult. About 35 to 80 days later, the adults begin to shed its own egg packets, which pass in the stool.
A tapeworm can survive in a dog anywhere from 7-34 months. Yes; months! A common sign of tapeworms is butt scooting, as your dog will be trying to remove the egg sacks from his fur. Most tapeworm infections can be treated with praziquantel, but to prevent future infections your puppy will require a comprehensive flea control program of Dipylidium.
Keep Your Puppy Healthy with PetPlace
We know that it can seem overwhelming when trying to cure your new puppy of their worm infestation. The most important thing you can do to help your pup is to see your vet as soon as you notice your puppy exhibiting any odd symptoms. Vet appointments can be expensive, but with the help of affordable, comprehensive pet insurance plans, you can get help to cover the cost of your puppy’s worms treatment and prevention. If you have any further questions about worms in puppies, or if you would like to learn more about pet insurance, feel free to send us a message.