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How Do You Deworm Dogs and Puppies?

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Show Worms the Way Out continued...

Because worms are so common in puppies, vets recommend de-worming them for the first time when they're 2 to 3 weeks old. Worms can pass from mother to baby before birth or soon after, through her milk. It will take more than one dose. The first round kills the worms that are there at the time. The second kills those that hatch a few weeks later.

Treatment is much the same for adult dogs with worms. The same kinds of drugs are used, but your dog will get more of the medicine. If your dog has hookworms, which drain blood from the wall of the intestines, your vet may also need to give him blood.

Put the Hurt on Heartworms

If your dog has heartworms, your vet will need to do blood work, take X-rays, and maybe do other tests to see how serious the infection is. Just the tests can cost $1,000 or more, but they're necessary. Initially, your dog will be started on monthly heartworm prevention along with an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. A month later, the heartworm treatment starts. This is a strong medicine  -- made from a poison called arsenic -- and should only be given by a vet. Typically, your dog gets a series of three shots over a 2-month period.

But that’s not the end of the treatment. You'll need to keep your dog calm and quiet for several months after the shots. When heartworms die they break into pieces. These chunks can block blood from flowing to the heart or lungs. When that happens -- and there is a greater chance when blood pumps harder, such as during exercise -- a dog could die. Your vet will give you tips to make sure your sick dog gets rest so he can recover safely.

Six months after the heartworm treatment, your vet will do a blood test to check for worms. If they're still there, your dog will need another round of shots. If they're all gone, you continue the preventive medicine for the rest of your dog’s life and test for heartworms each year.

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