Our interesting case of the month involves Coy, a 3yr old Border Collie Mix. Coy is a healthy, active dog that spends time at local dog parks and enjoys walks in his neighborhood. Coy is typically on heartworm preventative monthly, but did not receive his heartworm preventative during the months of July, August, and September. During his annual physical exam in October, his owner brought in a normal appearing fecal sample to be run (as a routine, annual screening). His fecal results showed that he was positive for roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. These are all intestinal parasites that dogs can pick up anywhere. We treated him with a dewormer and started him back up on his monthly heartworm/intestinal parasite preventative. We rechecked a fecal sample after his treatment was complete and it showed that the parasite infection had cleared!
Intestinal parasite infections are very common in pets. Your pet may pick up an intestinal parasite in a variety of ways including: nursing from an infected mother, consuming infected worm eggs from the soil in the environment (which is how Coy picked up his), consuming a prey animal carrying the parasite, or during embryonic development when an infected mother dog/cat is pregnant. We deworm all puppies and kittens during their vaccine series. At that time, we also start pets on a monthly heartworm/intestinal parasite preventative to be given monthly for life. When you give heartworm/intestinal parasite prevention each month, it will deworm your pet from any parasite it may have been exposed to during the previous month. As you can see by Coy’s story, missing just a few doses can set your pet up to a parasite infestation.