Flagler County Humane Society warns against parasites in puppies and kittens.

You can’t beat the excitement of having a new puppy or kitten. Kindness ! The puppy is blowing! The kitten playing with a toy! Worms ! Wait. What? Toward? Internal parasites are included in this puppy or kitten package. So what do you do now that you have the new puppy or kitten? Puppies or kittens must be set up according to a vaccination and deworming schedule from the age of 8 weeks. Let’s talk about internal parasites and what you can do to get rid of them from your new family member.

Hookworms are intestinal parasites that live and develop in your pet’s digestive system. The hookworm attaches to the intestinal wall and feeds on your pet’s blood. Its eggs are released in the digestive tract and then pass into your environment through your pet’s feces. Hookworms feast on blood and cause internal blood loss. It is a serious threat to dogs, especially young puppies or kittens who may not survive blood loss without the help of transfusions. Hookworms can be fatal to young pets.

Roundworms are generally the most common internal parasites in puppies. Almost all puppies get infected with it at some point in their life. Roundworms contract easily, making them easy to spread and difficult to control. Your puppy can be infected with roundworms from birth, as the mother can pass the parasite to the puppy during pregnancy. They can develop in a puppy after birth when the puppy eats larvae eggs from its surroundings or ingests worm larvae from breast milk. They can usually be transmitted through the body if the proper dewormers are given, but can be fatal if the roundworms get stuck in the intestines.

Tapeworms are long tapeworms that can attach to your pet’s intestines. A tapeworm body is made up of several segments, each with its own reproductive organs. Tapeworm can be visible in the feces and is usually diagnosed by finding the segments, which look like pieces of rice. Tapeworms are usually caused when the animal ingests a flea, so it is essential that your new pet is on flea prevention.

The Flagler Humane Society recently had a few cases of internal parasite infestation that threatened the lives of a few animals. The first was a young puppy who was picked up by Flagler Animal Services when an anonymous complaint was made about the puppy lying on the side of the road. He ended up needing a blood transfusion due to a severe hookworm infestation. The second was a kitten who was fine in the morning and lethargic and did not want to move in the afternoon. The kitten was rushed to a veterinarian, who administered dewormer and fluids, but the damage was already done and the kitten died. An autopsy was performed and it was discovered that the kitten had roundworms that blocked its intestines, causing the intestines to die and set up sepsis.

These are just a few of the more common internal parasites that young pets can become infected with. This is why it is important to have a deworming program in place as soon as you get your new furry family member. The Flagler Humane Society offers a low cost vaccination clinic every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. She can begin to vaccinate your new pet and administer the appropriate dewormer.


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Jennifer R. Strohm

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