Deworming Schedule to Detonate the Worm Bomb

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Dr A Sangaran
Dr M Areshkumar
Worms are one of the most common causes of serious illness in puppies, so it’s important to treat your puppy for worms as soon as you bring your bundle of joy home! –by Dr A Sangaran and Dr M Areshkumar

A puppy should be dewormed as early as two weeks of age. By the time a puppy is old enough to go to a new, forever home (ideally eight weeks of age, after weaning) it is vital to maintain a deworming programme to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.

Intestinal worms such as hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms can make your puppy sick and unable to effectively absorb the needed nutrients including vitamins and minerals from their food. They can also cause blood loss and anaemia, which can be serious in the early stages of your puppy’s life.

The other reason why deworming is so important is that the puppies can easily get worms from their mother through placenta or via their mother’s milk. Hence, it is mandatory to deworm puppies as early as age of two weeks. Follow up the deworming schedule as per your vet’s advice.

Beware of these signs and symptoms
Most of the infected puppies will never show signs of having worms, which necessitates regular deworming which is especially important regardless of the animal showing signs or not due to the presence of the worms.

Common clinical signs due to the presence of worms in puppies include:

  • Weakness and lethargy
  •  Failure to grow or stunted growth
  •  Diarrhoea/constipation
  •  Vomiting
  •  Weight loss (despite an increased appetite)
  •  Distended abdomen (pot-belly appearance)
  •  Intestinal obstruction
  •  Stool that contains worms, mucus or blood

Apart from worms in stool, other signs can be indicative of various health issues. So, as a pet parent you need to be cautious and seek medical help for your pup if you notice any of these signs.

Good riddance to worms
Deworming is done more on a preventive measure than treatment and it is essential to deworm the puppies as per the age on regular basis against different types of worms such as roundworms and tapeworms. A plethora of anthelmintics (deworming drugs) are available and the deworming should be done from any of these drugs based on the recommendation and advice by a veterinarian.

Simple deworming schedule

Puppies – Every two weeks until three months of age, starting at the age of two weeks; once a month from three to six months of age. After six months, follow adult recommendations and use a dewormer on rotational basis to avoid resistance that is effective against hookworms and other gastrointestinal worms.

Adult dogs – Treat regularly, taking into consideration of the exposure to parasites based on regular clinical and faecal examination by your veterinarian.

Female dogs – Once prior to mating, between 42 and 49 days of pregnancy to avoid placental transmission of certain worms and after whelping, lactating mother dogs should be treated concurrently with puppies to prevent transmission of worm’s stages through milk of the mother.

A newly adopted/fostered pet – Obtain the deworming schedule from the previous pet parent. Deworm immediately, then repeat after two weeks, then follow the deworming schedule duly as per your veterinarian’s advice.

Worms are really common in dogs, so don’t panic. If you stick to the deworming schedule, your pet will have no trouble!

(Dr A Sangaran and Dr M Areshkumar are from Madras Veterinary College, Chennai)

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