Anyone who knows me, REALLY knows me, is aware of the fact that they can trigger a dissertation (eliciting hours of seemingly endless conversation) by bringing up the topic of intestinal parasites. It’s one of my favorites…I love “bugs,” I guess!
Be that as it may, I have found some interesting notes from a recent meeting at the Centers for Disease Control. The agenda was transmissible parasitic diseases. The outcome/goal was to encourage veterinarians to better educate their clients regarding protozoa and parasitic infections — primarily the child/ascarid/coccidia kinds.
Of specific interest to us, as dog breeders and owners, as well as shelters and rescues, were the recommendations of the parasitologist present at the forum. I’ll list them here:
1. Deworming pups for roundworms and hookworms should begin at 2 weeks of age.
2. These wormings should be repeated every two weeks until the puppies are at least 12 weeks of age.
The panel referenced the fact that the present standard “diagnostic procedures might not show up parasites early enough, and that routine preventive deworming was preferable.” Connie Vanacore goes on to state: “Although not part of that discussion, breeders and animal managers need to be particularly attentive to proper worming and sanitary procedures. Puppies should be free of parasites before they are sold, but it is surprising how many puppies go out with one or more types of worms, coccidia, or giardia. It is a part of a breeder’s responsibility in selling healthy puppies to take care of that routinely, before any animal leaves the premises.” I include shelters and rescues.
At this point, I will share with you some views of DVM Christine Wilford, an AKC Gazette contributor on this same topic.
1. Fecal exams have limitations.
2. If a fecal does not reveal worm eggs, this does NOT necessarily mean that no worms are present.
3. Worms do NOT shed eggs consistently. In addition, if worms are too immature to propagate, no eggs will appear on the slide. Whipworms shed only every 90 days.
4. Mature dogs usually have intestinal worm larvae that encyst in muscle tissue. They can be triggered by a number of physiological stressors, i.e. seasons, whelping, illness, training, etc.
5. For a definitive “negative” reading, four consecutive negative fecals must be done – with the exception of whipworms. Usually whip exams ARE negative!
To quote Dr. Wilford: “A positive is positive, but a negative is questionable. When in doubt, a regular comprehensive deworming program is the best insurance.” Dogs who play in dog parks can routinely pick up parasitic and protozoa infections. Beware!
Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or www.cghs.org. The Food Bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. All of our cats and kittens are “Furrever Free” with all expenses paid. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $86 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available 10-11 a.m. every Saturday at the shelter for a donation of $10 for cats and $15 for dogs (currently prepaid only).
Charlene Marchand is the Chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.