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.
At the time of adoption, even the puppy or kitten has usually been dewormed bu the breeder, roundworms are very likely to still be in the gut. A single treatement does not get rid of all parasites because most dewormers used 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.
It is recommended to deworm puppoes and kittens once every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then once a month until they are 6 months old. After 6 months, the optimal timing of deworming should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Not all dewormers are the same: they are generally designed to be effective on specific worms and should be avoided for animals with massive worm burdens. Be careful and ask for your veterinarian's advice. They 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 in order to identify the parasites present in your pet. This is the best way to then choose the most effective dewormer treatment.
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 animals. 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 your dog or cat that goes outside at least 4 times a year, but this frequency should be adjusted according to the animal's 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.
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.