How Long Does It Take for a Puppy to Expel Worms?
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When you take your new puppy home, the last thing you want is a major health issue. Unfortunately, puppies are more susceptible to some problems, such as parasites, than older dogs. There are several factors that can affect how long it takes a puppy to expel worms. The type of parasite is one of the most important factors because it determines how long a parasite's biological cycle lasts, and therefore how long it takes to eliminate it. There are also other factors, such as parasite load or treatment, that can also impact the time it takes a puppy to eliminate parasites.
In the following AnimalWised article, we will discuss how long it takes to rid a puppy of parasites based on these factors.
Why do puppies get worms?
One of the most vulnerable periods in a dog's life is puppyhood. Puppies have an immature immune system and are therefore more susceptible to these types of parasites. In addition, some parasites can be transmitted through the transplacental route (via the placenta) and the lactogenic route (via the mother's milk), which means that these processes can affect dogs at a very early age and cause serious diseases.
To prevent your puppy from becoming infected with parasites, prevention is key. Veterinarians should inform pet owners about the risks of parasitic diseases, as well as the measures that should be taken to reduce these risks.
It is important to emphasize that many of these processes can be transmitted from animals to humans (i.e., they are zoonotic), so proper health education of caregivers is essential to maintain the health of both animals and humans. On the other hand, animal owners must maintain good hygiene and follow the deworming protocol established by their veterinarian.
Continue reading this other article to learn more about the different types of parasites that can infest your puppy and their main characteristics.
What factors contribute to parasite appearance?
There are four types of worms that can parasitize the intestine of our dog: Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms and Flatworms.
Their morphological characteristics, biological cycles, transmission routes and pathogenesis depend on the species. The degree of parasitization of a puppy by intestinal worms depends on several factors. Here we list the most important ones:
- Location and season: parasites require certain environmental conditions (especially temperature and humidity) to effectively complete their biological cycle. Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors or dogs that live in rural areas are more susceptible to parasite infestation.
- Parasite species: Reproduction varies by parasite species. Some, such as roundworms, can produce up to 200,000 eggs per day, which means greater environmental contamination with the infectious forms and consequently a higher parasite burden in dogs. The size of the intestinal tract is limited, so the number of worms the intestine can harbor depends on the size of the parasites (the larger the parasites, the lower the parasite load).
- Individual factors: under the same conditions, not all animals will have the same parasite load, as individual factors such as age, immune status, or overall host condition will determine the extent of infection. Puppies, older dogs, and dogs with weakened immune systems are more at risk.
Read this other article to learn what to expect after deworming your dog.
How to get rid of worms in puppies?
Antiparasitic treatment must begin as early as possible after the diagnosis of parasitic infections.
A puppy's ability to excrete worms or worming agents depends not only on treatment, but also on prevention. Therefore, preventive measures must be taken before, during, and after intestinal parasites. This also serve to reduce environmental contamination and prevent re-infection of our pets. The preventive measures that we must consider for intestinal parasites are the following:
- Hygiene measures: Good household hygiene is essential to prevent the spread of parasites, both internally and externally. Many intestinal worms are transmitted in the form of eggs or larvae through feces. Therefore, regular disposal of feces significantly reduces the likelihood of environmental contamination. However, it is also necessary to wash the dog's accessories weekly, such as toys, blankets, and containers in which our pets drink and eat.
- Avoid raw foods: Some of these parasites are transmitted by eating raw meat. Therefore, it is important to ensure that animals are fed either commercial food or food cooked at home (never raw). In particular, they must be prevented from having access to viscera such as livers or lungs. In the case of a BARF diet, the meat must be frozen beforehand.
- Guarantee access to clean drinking water: Dogs must always have fresh, clean and drinkable water available. We must prevent them from coming into contact with dirty or stagnant water, which can be a source of one of these parasites.
- Strict health control: Stool tests (coprology) should be done routinely. During the first year of our puppy's life, between 2 and 4 coprological analyzes are performed, since young animals are not only exposed to orofaecal transmission, but can also be infected via the transplacental or lactogenic route. After the first year of life, it is sufficient to perform these examinations annually.
- Routine deworming: the frequency of internal and external deworming in dogs depends on several factors, such as age, location, activity, cohabitation with other animals, travel, physiological condition, etc. For puppies, the first internal deworming is done in the second week of life and repeated every 15 days until they are 8 weeks old. After 8 weeks, an individual protocol is established based on the factors described above.
Animals at higher risk of infection (endemic areas, hunting dogs, frequent trips, pregnant or lactating females, etc.) should be dewormed monthly. Animals that live in urban areas and are at lower risk can be dewormed quarterly (4 times per year).
The first external deworming is done at 10 weeks of age. From then on, it is done routinely, depending on the type of drug and method of administration.
As mentioned earlier, worms can be transmitted from mother to puppies. Continue reading this other article to learn more about how to deworm a pregnant dog.
How long does it take for a puppy to expel worms?
To understand how long it takes for a puppy to expel worms, we must first explain the concept of prepatency period. The prepatency period is the time that elapses between the ingestion of a parasitic pathogen (infection) and the appearance of new parasitic forms. In other words, the time it takes for an infected egg to grow into adult parasites that then shed eggs.
It is logical that our puppy will not stop excreting worms until this prepatency period is complete, even if we treat it properly. Treatment should be done as soon as new forms of parasites appear to cover the entire biological cycle of the parasite.
The prepatency period is the factor that essentially determines how long a puppy will excrete worms. To determine it accurately, we must consider the parasite species that causes the infection and the route of transmission. However, besides the prepatency time, there are other factors that can influence the elimination time, such as the parasite load or the treatment performed.
With most medications, it does not take long for them to start working. It can take as little as two hours for the worms to begin dying off. However, in most cases, the process begins about 12 hours after the dewormer is administered.
You may continue to see the worms in your puppy's feces for about a week. If the infestation is severe, you may continue to see the worms for up to two weeks. If the medication was successful, the worms should be dead. They will be transparent and difficult to see.
What can I do if my puppy continues to have worms?
If your puppy continues to expel worms despite preventative measures and antiparasitic treatment, it is important to review your veterinarian's guidelines to identify errors that may be responsible for treatment failure.
First and foremost, we must ensure that we are adequately following the preventative measures prescribed by our veterinarian. Our dog will continue to become infected with the infectious forms of the parasite if we do not practice proper environmental hygiene or continue to allow them access to possible sources of infection (contaminated water, raw meat, rodents, etc.).
If we strictly follow preventive measures, but our puppy continues to expel worms, pharmacological treatment may not be sufficient.
When treating intestinal parasites caused by worms, it is critical that the drug or combination of drugs administered is effective against both larvae and adults. Otherwise, the treatment will only work against one phase of the parasite, while others may survive and continue their biological cycle, keeping the infection active. The spectrum of activity and dosage of the drug must also be checked, as failure in any of these areas can also lead to treatment failure.
In any case, if your puppy does not stop excreting worms, it is essential to visit your veterinarian to find the cause and find a solution as soon as possible. You may also be interested in this other article, where we explain how to treat worms at home.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How Long Does It Take for a Puppy to Expel Worms?, we recommend you visit our Parasitic diseases category.
- European Council for the Control of Parasitosis in Companion Animals (ESCCAP). (2018). Anthelmintics for dogs available in Spain.
- European Council for the Control of Parasitosis in Companion Animals (ESCCAP). (2014). Control of worms in dogs and cats . 1:1-32.
- Lloria, M.A. (2001). Endoparasitosis in companion animals. Prevention . Elsevier 15(9)