I’m a new mother again. My daughter just gave me an early Christmas present, a puppy. So over the course of the next few articles, we will touch on puppy care. Christmas, Easter, Valentines, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day usually bring an increase to a few families. No doubt there may be a few other families needing some pointers in the near future.
Owners of newly acquired pets should obtain the medical history of the pet and contact their veterinarian to set up a schedule for worming and vaccinations. Some breeders and pet stores have already started the worming and vaccinations prior to the adoption release and will provide you with the information. All pets adopted from the SPCA have been wormed and given vaccinations. They will also recommend you contact your veterinarian to follow up on worming and vaccinations.
Most reputable breeders initiate worming treatments at 2 weeks, and repeat at 4, 6, and 8 weeks, just prior to releasing the pet for adoption. On a newly acquired pet that has no history of de-worming contact your veterinarian to set up and immediate schedule of de-worming While consulting your veterinarian on basic worming schedules, you should have your pet’s stool examined for tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and a blood test is done for heartworms.
There are several types of tapeworms, the most common is the flea tapeworm. This tapeworm is most common in residential or urban areas. Dogs ingest it during grooming. The other types are usually transmitted to dogs through eating rabbits, rodents or uncooked meats. Tapeworms look like flattened pieces of rice in your pet’s stool or attached to the fur in the anal area. Dogs may drag their behinds as an indication of infection. Don’t allow your dogs to ingest raw meats or hunt rodents thus eliminating the opportunity for infection.
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos. When a mosquito bites an infected dog, it not only sucks up blood but baby heartworms in the blood. This gets passed along to the next dog the infected mosquito bites. An infected dog may show signs of a chronic cough, labored breathing, listlessness, and is easily tired during exercise. Once your veterinarian has determined your dog is free of heartworm infection he/she will begin a regular preventative medication program.
Roundworms live in the dog’s intestines and live by sucking blood. Puppies often are infected through the placenta of the mother. This is why de-worming is usually begun at 2 weeks into the life of the puppy. Pets infected with roundworms usually have bloated bellies and rough looking coats. Your pet may show signs of vomiting, diarrhea, and colic. If left untreated a severe infection could damage the brain, liver, or lungs.
Hookworms attach themselves onto the intestinal lining with hook-like teeth. As this worm feeds on your dog’s blood, it moves around continually leaving bleeding sores. Bloody, mucus-laden diarrhea is an indication your dog may have a hookworm infection. This worm infection can cause anemia, weight loss, skin problems, rough coat, weakness, and impair the growth and physical development in puppies.
To prevent infection of any type of worm it is important that you do not let your dog drink stagnant pond water, ingest other dogs feces, rabbits or rodents, raw meats, garbage, or bones it may find on walks. Also, do not let your pet play in possible areas infected by mosquitos or other dogs. And last, but not least, have your dog examined and put on a regular preventative treatment program by your veterinarian.
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