Few things in life are as exciting or rewarding as welcoming a new puppy into the family. They’re adorable, they’re loving, they’re funny – and they’re also counting on you to help protect them from parasites and diseases. Here’s a quick look at the main parasites and diseases you need to know about.
Heartworm Disease: A real heartbreaker
Heartworm disease in dogs has been diagnosed in every state of the US.1 Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos,and the worms live in the heart and lungs of the dog. Clinical signs seen in dogs include cough, difficulty breathing, weight loss, exercise intolerance, and eventually heart failure and death. Unlike intestinal parasites, which can be easily treated, treatment for heartworm disease is expensive – up to $1,000 in veterinary bills2 – time consuming, and has significant side effects. Fortunately highly effective preventives are available for this devastating disease. The American Heartworm Society recommends using a heartworm preventive year-round to protect your dog. Ask your veterinarian about this.
Worms: Worth worrying about
Intestinal parasites, including roundworms and hookworms, can cause serious problems in puppies. Roundworms are commonly diagnosed in puppies,5 and may infect 90% of puppies under three months of age.6 Intestinal parasites cause more severe disease in young puppies. Clinical signs include failure to gain weight, poor hair and coat, and vomiting. Some puppies may even die from roundworm infection. Hookworms are another intestinal parasite commonly seen in puppies. Infected puppies may develop diarrhea, anemia due to blood loss, and fail to gain weight. Hookworm infection can also result in death. Ask your veterinarian about proper deworming protocols for puppies. You can reduce the riskof exposure to these intestinal parasites by avoiding potentially contaminated environments and promptly removing feces from the yard or other public areas. Ask your veterinarian about placing your dog on a heartworm preventive that is labeled for the treatment and control of roundworms and hookworms.
- 1. www.heartwormsociety.org/article.asp?id=48#epidemiology. Slide 5. Accessed October 15, 2010.
- 2. Vital statistics for your veterinary practice. In: Landeck E, ed. The Veterinary FeeReference. 6th ed. Lakewood, CO:AAHA Press, 2009;57, 58, 200, 213, 226, 265, 333.
- 4. www.heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/canine-guidelines.html. AccessedOctober 15, 2010.
- 5. CAPC Recommendations. http://www.capcvet.org/recommendations/ascarids.html.Accessed October 13, 2010.)
- 6. Schantz PM. Zoonotic ascarids and hookworms: the role for veterinarians inpreventing human disease. In: Emerging Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Disease,The Compendium Suppl 2002;24(1):47-52.