Frequently in my daily practice, I meet owners who come to Pet Point with the intention of deworming their dog or cat because “it is time”, and it is this argument that today dominates the minds of the owners.
Currently in veterinary medicine, in adult canine and feline patients, it is recommended not to deworm prophylactically. That is, we do not deworm every 6 months or 3 times a year as if it were a cooking recipe. On the contrary, we recommend a feces study before, with the intention of determining if the patient is infected with parasites and, if so, which are the offending parasites.
This way, we can design a specific protocol for that particular patient according to their age, race, diet, physical characteristics and lifestyle. That is, for each patient the veterinarian will design a unique diagnostic protocol and subsequent treatment.
In the case of puppies and kittens, veterinary parasitology specialists recommend that these canine and feline patients be dewormed at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks of life, with the intention of eliminating parasites from their young organisms themselves which they could have acquired through the consumption of breast milk (such as toxocaras) or through contact with secretions from the parasitized mother, the environment or other animals. Such early infections are not always possible to detect with the stool test. It will be the veterinarian who determines according to age, origin and breed the use of dewormer in such puppies.
Once we share the above information at the time of the consultation, we suggest collecting one stool sample per day for 3 days, which we then receive in our facilities where we analyze them. If the patient tests positive for parasites, the result is discussed and treatment is offered and carried out. Finally at the end of the treatment, a control feces study of one day is carried out, with the intention of being sure that the organism or organisms that parasitized our patient were eliminated from the body. If it once again comes back positive, we know that this patient is still infected with a parasite with which he or she was diagnosed. If they are still infected, then we look for an alternative treatment, since in veterinary medicine of small species we are facing more and more resistance to drugs by bacteria, viruses and parasites.
Understand then, appreciable reader, the importance of conducting a stool study before deworming. Without the study, we could be deworming a patient who does not need it, be using an inappropriate mixture of medications (due to the presence of more than one parasite), or deworm for an inappropriate period of time (since if I do not know the parasite, I will not know its life cycle and standard time permanence in the organism). It would be worse still to simply assume that our patient was dewormed successfully, only to have achieved that the parasite or parasites become more resistant to the different medications that we have at hand for the treatment of dog and cat parasitosis today.