Why Your Puppy May Have Worms…

By March 13, 2015Pet Talk


  • Intestinal parasites are common in puppies.  Puppies can become infected with parasites before they are born or later through their mother’s milk.  The microscopic examination of a stool sample will usually help us to determine the presence of intestinal parasites.  We recommend this exam for all puppies, if we can get a stool sample.  Please bring one at your earliest convenience.  Even if we do not get a stool sample, we recommend the use of a deworming product that is safe and effective against several of the common worms of the dog.  We do this because our deworming medication has no side-effects and because do not pass worm eggs every day so the stool sample that we have may not detect worms that are really present.  Deworming is done now and repeated in about three weeks.  It is important that it be repeated in about three weeks because the deworming medication only kills the adult worms.  Within 3-4 weeks, the larval stages will have become adults and will need to be treated.  Dogs remain susceptible to reinfection with hookworms and roundworms.  Periodic deworming throughout the dog’s life may be recommended for dogs that go outdoors.
  • Tapeworms are the most common intestinal parasite of dogs.  Puppies become infected with them when they swallow fleas; the eggs of the tapeworm live inside the flea.  When the dog chews or licks its skin as a flea bites, the flea may be swallowed.  The flea is digested within the dog’s intestine; the tapeworm hatches and then anchors itself to the intestinal lining.  Therefore, exposure to fleas may result in a new infection; this can occur in as little as two weeks.
  • Dogs infected with tapeworms will pass small segments of the worms in their stool.  The segments are white in color and look like grains of rice.  They are about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long and may be seencrawling on the surface of the stool.  They may also stick to the hair under the tail.  If that occurs, they will dry out, shrink to about half their size, and become golden in color.
  • Tapeworm segments do not pass every day or in every stool sample; therefore, inspection of several consecutive bowel movements may be needed to find them.  We may examine a stool sample in our office and not find them, then you may find them the next day.  If you find them at any time, please notify us so we may provide the appropriate drug for treatment.


Leave a Reply