Did you add a new furry baby over the holidays? If so, giving them a healthy start is not only good for them, but can protect your family from intestinal parasites that are present from birth or shortly after birth in all cats and dogs.
Health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and major veterinary groups that are concerned with the care of people and pets suggest that all puppies and kittens receive regular de-wormings until at least 8 weeks of age.
In fact, puppies should be treated for intestinal parasites beginning as early as 2 weeks of age (6 weeks of age for kittens due to differences in how they acquire worms) and they benefit from monthly preventative treatments long after puppy- and kitten-care is completed.
In adult pets, this can be accomplished by giving a monthly heartworm medication that includes drugs to prevent intestinal infections as well.
You should always provide a stool sample to your veterinarian when you have your puppy or kitten examined. Since not all intestinal parasites respond to the same type of medication, an accurate diagnosis can help assure the most effective treatment for your pet. And don’t forget basic hygiene with your new friends; always wash your hands after handling any young animal.
While vaccinations and house- and litter-box training are important, the inside health of your pet should be assessed and treated from the beginning as well. Your veterinarian will have protocols and therapies to accomplish this and help to make sure everyone stays healthy right out of the gate!
Questions? Send them to Dr. Sandeman, Home & Garden, Quad-City Times, 500 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA 52801. Or, email to papertrained@ mchsi.com. Dr. Sandeman cannot answer letters or email personally, but questions of general interest will be answered in this column.