If you can't see worms in your pet, it doesn't mean they're not there! Many owners are not aware that their pets harbor parasites in their digestive tracts. While puppies and kittens are usually treated during their first year, deworming is often too irregular or even absent in adult animals.
The best is to seek the advice of your veterinarian to establish a deworming plan for your dog or cat that takes into account its age, lifestyle and the particular risks of human contamination within your family.
Establish a deworming protocol for a puppy or a kitten
At the moment of adoption, even if the puppy or kitten has usually been dewormed by the breeder, roundworms are very likely to still be in the digestive tract. A single treatment does not get rid of al parasites because most dewormers usable in young animals are active against adult worms but not against larvae. Therefore, several successive deworming treatments are necessary to eliminate worms as they complete their development.
Theoretically, it is recommended to deworm puppies and kittens once a month from the time they arrive into their new family until they are 6 months old. After 6 months, the optimal rhythm of deworming should be discussed your veterinarian.
All dewormers do not act on the same parasites
Not all dewormers are equivalent: they are generally designed to be efficient on specific worms and should be avoided for animals that are massively parasitized. Be careful and ask for your veterinarian's advice; he will prescribe the right product for your pet, based on its species, age, breed, weight, and parasitic status.
If your dog or cat suffers from chronic digestive problems and if a parasitic origin is suspected, your veterinarian may perform a stool examination (coproscopy), in order to identify the parasites present in your pet. This is the best way to then choose the most effective dewormer treatment.
Adult animals don't need to be dewormed at the same rhythm
When a pet reaches adulthood, you should continue to treat it regularly, as it may ingest parasite eggs that have been released in the stools of other dogs (coprophagia is a common behaviour in dogs!). Pets can also be infested by parasites through the prey they hunt or via the fleas they harbour.
In general, it is recommended to deworm a dog or cat that goes out at least 4 times a year, but this frequency should be adjusted according to the animals lifestyle and state of health. Again, your veterinarian can help you identify specific parasitic risks around your animal: hunting or scavenging behaviours, contact with other animals, type of food, immune status, etc.
**Note: A small proportion of adult dogs and cats excrete parasite eggs in large quantities, but it is very important to identify them because risks associated with this excretion can threaten human health. An analysis of the individual situation will make It possible to establish an appropriate parasite control protocol.