Internal parasites are in our environment; therefore, communicability to our pets is unavoidable. To protect our pets from the damage parasites can cause, we need to deworm regularly.
Dogs and cats can acquire many types of internal parasites. Some are species-specific, some are passed to different species, and some are zoonotic (transmissible to humans).
Children, elderly and immunocompromised people are at higher risk of damage by parasites travelling through the body. The most common parasites in our area are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Your veterinarian will recommend deworming your pet in 2-weeks to 6-week intervals. They will develop a deworming regime based on your pets age, and exposure.
For example, the cat who lives by itself and is 100% indoor will differ from the dog who is outside on trails or at the dog park daily. Some parasite eggs can lie dormant in our environment for up to a year, especially in our mild climate. Some parasite eggs are very sticky, and as the dog sniffs around, they parasites stick to the dog’s nose or paws. As the dog licks its nose and paws, they become infected.
Other forms of transmission include grooming each other, litter boxes, coprophagia (eating feces), eating rabbits/rodents, and ingestion of fleas (for tapeworms). Dewormer acts as a quick kill adulticide (which differs from flea treatments which are long-acting/residual). Dewormer kills the adult worms in the body at that time. However, the pet could become infected after that deworming treatment, which is why we need to keep on the regime set by your veterinarian. It’s important to check your pet’s stool once a year for parasite eggs. It should be part of your pet’s annual vet visit to ensure that the deworming regimen is working for their lifestyle.
Written by: Jenn