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Deworming Dogs: How to diagnose intestinal parasites and choose a dewormer

Deworming Dogs: How to diagnose intestinal parasites and choose a dewormer

Just the mere mention of the word deworming conjures up an unpleasant image in most pet owners’ minds — and for good reason. Worms, or worm segments, can be present in your pet’s stool or vomit and some can potentially infect the human members of your family, too.

In, this article, we will introduce you to the common types of intestinal parasites, the signs of an infection and how to go about choosing the most appropriate dewormer for your pet.

Common intestinal parasites in dogs and cats

You’ve probably heard the names before—roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. These are the intestinal parasites most often seen in pets, and each of them can harm your dog or cat in unique ways.

Symptoms of intestinal parasites in pets

While worms are usually found in puppies and kittens, infection can occur in dogs and cats of all ages. Signs of an intestinal parasite infection can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen stomach
  • Anemia
  • Death (in severe infestations)

Fecal examination and diagnosis

Note that these signs can also be associated with other diseases so if you observe any of them, you should take your pet in to see your veterinarian for an examination. Diagnosing an intestinal parasite infection is usually done through a laboratory analysis of your pet’s feces.

Choosing the right dewormer for your dog

There are many different types and brands of dewormers on the market— and determining which dewormer to use, whether to administer it by pill or liquid, and at what dose can depend on a lot of factors.

Knowing which dewormer to use and at what dose can depend on a variety of things such as the type of intestinal parasite present, and the age, size and current health of your pet. Aside from reading the labels on deworming products, it’s important to discuss the options and your dog’s unique needs with your veterinarian first.

Your veterinarian can recommend a product that’s appropriate for your pet after a diagnosis has been made of the type and species of the parasite. In addition, some heartworm medications can also be used to help control intestinal parasites. Considering that some parasites can infect people as well as pets, certain dewormers may be used as a preventive measure to decrease the risk to humans.

Protect your pet from worms with an Optimum Wellness Plan

All Banfield Optimum Wellness plans include routine fecal exams to detect parasites and other intestinal organisms that can cause problems for your dog, puppy, cat or kitten. Visit our Optimum Wellness Plan page to build the right plan for your pet today.

Learn more

For more information on worms and other intestinal parasites, please read the articles below. You can also learn more about the other kinds of parasites to protect your pet from in our Parasite Control Section or schedule an appointment with your local Banfield veterinarian.