Parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms can cause serious disease —and even death—in dogs and can also infect
people. Infection can occur in many ways, and pets may not show clinical signs until it is too late. So how can you provide
You can reduce infection rates by formulating a comprehensive parasite prevention program for your patients, a strategy recommended
by the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists, and Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.1,2
- Puppies: Routinely deworm beginning at 2 weeks old and repeat every two weeks until the animals are 8 weeks old and are placed on a
monthly parasite control product.
- Nursing dams: Deworm concurrently with their offspring because dams often develop patent infections.
- Adult dogs: Administer broad-spectrum heartworm anthelmintics that have activity against zoonotic parasites, and use them year-round.
- Newly acquired pets: Deworm immediately and repeat in two weeks.
"Treatment to eliminate intestinal parasites prevents primary disease in pets," says Byron Blagburn, MS, PhD, professor
of parasitology at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "It also eliminates the shedding of even small numbers
of fecal stages. For people, the zoonotic risk is exposure to soil or another substrata that contains infected eggs or larvae."
In addition to recommending year-round prevention, the CAPC guidelines state that veterinarians should tailor these preventive
programs to the needs of individual patients. "The importance of effective parasite control is amplified in hyperendemic areas,"
Dr. Blagburn says. Thus, if you live in an area where exposure to various worms is high, you should conduct fecal examinations
more frequently and deworm your canine patients appropriately.
Virbac currently offers veterinarians and their clients the monthly preventive IVERHART MAX®—the parasite prevention product
with the broadest spectrum on the market.* Now, Virbac introduces Virbantel™ (pyrantel pamoate and praziquantel)—flavored,
chewable deworming tablets for dogs for the treatment and control of roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Virbantel is approved
for dogs 12 weeks of age or older, and safety in breeding and pregnant bitches has not been tested.
"Virbantel fits nicely into a strategic approach to parasite control," Dr. Blagburn says. "If broad-spectrum preventive agents
are not used, then timely administration of strategic dewormers , such as Virbantel, could be used. Virbantel can also fill
gaps left by broadspectrum agents that do not eliminate certain parasites, such as tapeworms."
To monitor the efficacy of the deworming and client compliance with monthly preventives, you should perform a fecal examination
two to four times in a puppy's first year and one to two times per year in adults. All dogs should be tested for heartworm
infection before starting a preventive program. Following the use of IVERHART MAX, digestive and neurologic side effects have
rarely been reported. Use with caution in sick, debilitated, or underweight animals and dogs weighing less than 10 lbs.
1. Companion Animal Parasite Council. CAPC Guidelines. Available at:
http://www.capcvet.org/?p=Guidelines_Introduction&h=0&s=0. Accessed Jan. 11, 2008.
2. CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases. Guidelines for veterinarians: prevention of zoonotic transmission of ascarids and hookworms
in dogs and cats. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/ascaris/prevention.htm. Accessed Jan. 11, 2008.