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Puppy Parasites that are Most Common

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Here at NAR Puppies, we spare no expense in keeping parasites at bay. However, some are incredibly hard to manage. Parasites are a common problem in any dog’s life. All puppies are born with round worms. They can pass through the mother’s milk even if the mother has been dewormed prior to having the puppies. Worms are not hard to keep controlled because they respond well to medication, and we prevent the puppies from getting worms again by keeping them off of the ground. We deworm our puppies weekly beginning at two weeks of age to eradicate the worms passed to them from their mother. Other parasites are hard to keep controlled because puppies can easily reinfect themselves. Because puppies are so young and have immature immune systems, parasites can affect them worse than adult dogs. Two common bacterial parasites that live in a dog’s intestinal tract are coccidia and giardia. They are not worms. They can come from various places such as the ground, water, feces, food, other animals, etc. They live in all of our environments and are always there to deal with. Adult dogs do not tend to be affected by them, however. We give specific medicine to the puppies to prevent coccidia so we rarely have a problem with it arising. Giardia is a different story. It affects half of all puppies. These are parasites that stick to fur and have a very hard shell, so it is hard to kill them. The hard shell helps them to survive outside of the body. They can live in water or on a surface. Sanitation is very important to keep coccidia and giardia at bay, and we do our best to keep the puppies as clean as possible and disinfect their living areas daily. However, puppies can eat poop or step in some poop and reinfect themselves when they lick their feet. During the stress of traveling and going to new homes, these parasites can resurface and cause loose and fatty stool. They can also cause the puppies to lose their appetite and get dehydrated. We give the puppies medicine to prevent giardia from arising, but it does not always keep the puppies from having it. Giardia can sometimes be seen in fecals but not always. The giardia antigen snap test is very sensitive and vets commonly use it to see if a puppy has giardia. However, some puppies will always show a positive and will always carry giardia even after a twenty day treatment. The treatment for giardia is oral dewormer for ten days and sometimes a vet will give an antibiotic in addition to the dewormer for ten days. The puppy is then retested after another ten days have passed. Even if the puppy is clear of giardia but has dead giardia dna in their intestinal tract, the snap test can still test positive. When you take your puppy to the vet, your vet might want to complete this snap test. If the results come back later as positive, the vet will want to treat it. We can provide the medication for you by sending you a ten day supply and also a home test kit to recheck the puppy after 10 days if you would like us to instead of having to pay your vet to do so. If you are not seeing any problems with your new puppy’s stool, I would not recommend completing the twenty day treatment over and over if you keep getting positives. Taking an antibiotic that treats giardia over a long period of time can cause seizures. Probiotics are great to give puppies while they are on antibiotics. Please remember that we do our best to keep all parasites under control and follow a strict medicine schedule, but parasites are very common and should not be something to cause too much concern as long as you are providing the right treatment and prevention. They do not cause death unless the puppies are not given the correct medication and care. Parvo does cause quick death, and lives in the dirt for years which is why we ask our new buyers to please keep your new puppy off of the ground until he or she has received all three of his or her 5 way parvo vaccinations. Our vet also recommends giving your puppy an additional 5 way vaccination at sixteen weeks of age. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

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