Our pets share every aspect of our lives, from the backyard to the house, and in some cases, even our beds. Unfortunately, they might also be sharing some unwanted guests - worms!
Most puppies are born with roundworms and/or hookworms. Worms can be passed from mom to babies during pregnancy or nursing. If untreated, these tiny parasites can cause poor growth, diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly death. Adult pets are also susceptible to internal parasites. Dogs who consume feces, eat grass, or have contact with infected rodents are at high risk.
Beyond the risk to your pets, there is an even greater danger from these parasites. Both roundworms and hookworms are zoonotic, meaning that they can be passed to humans. Children are especially susceptible. The CDC estimates that almost 14% of the U.S. population is infected with roundworms. That’s nearly 40 million people!
When you understand the worm’s life cycle, it’s easy to see the danger. After larval worms enter a puppy’s digestive tract, they mature into adults in just 3 weeks. Adult female worms rapidly shed enormous numbers of eggs into the environment. It’s not unusual for one female to shed more than 200,000 eggs every single day. Now, imagine a mother dog with a litter of 9 puppies. Including mom’s contribution, even if each pup had just one female worm, more than 2 million eggs are being deposited daily into the yard where the puppies, and your kids, play.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends a de-worming protocol to help protect both people and pets. Starting with puppies, CAPC recommends using a de-worming pet wormer medication, like Nemex-2, every 2-3 weeks from 2 weeks of age until 12 weeks. In addition, dog owners are urged to use monthly heartworm Rx-Heartworm prevention products, like Heartgard Plus or Advantage Multi, which contain medication to control intestinal parasites. Dogs should take these products every month, all year round. It's a safe and easy way to protect the whole family! Lori H