You Asked: Why Do Young Animals Typically Have Parasites?
Puppies can be born already infected with roundworms as the parasite can pass from the mother’s tissue across the placenta to the developing puppies. Puppies can acquire hookworms from infected mothers during nursing. In addition, puppies or kittens may contract intestinal parasites from a contaminated environment before they have been started on routine parasite prevention. They are more vulnerable to the effects of parasites, so testing and treatment is especially important.
A new puppy or kitten visits the vet several times during the first four to five months of life. During this time, your puppy or kitten receives all of the recommended vaccines, plus two to three comprehensive fecal tests. The fecal test is a laboratory test that checks for intestinal parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms (as well as giardia and coccidia). Friendship Hospital for Animals offers Puppy and Kitten Wellness Plans that cover all of the basic needs for the first year of puppy-hood and kitten-hood, such as wellness exams, vaccinations, intestinal parasite screening, deworming, and more! Check with your primary care veterinarian to discuss Friendship’s Wellness Plans or check out Interactive Wellness Plan tool.
Dr. Schultz graduated from Cornell University in 1997 and joined Friendship in 2004. Dr. Schultz enjoys helping people and their pets in a direct way. Her professional interests include emergency medicine and general practice.