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Understanding Common Puppy Parasites and Their Treatment

Welcome to Down Home Doodle! Today, we're discussing an important topic for new puppy owners: parasites. Despite their adorable and lovable nature, puppies can sometimes carry parasites that pose health risks to puppies and adult dogs. Regular fecal tests are crucial for detecting and treating these parasites early on. Here are the top three parasites commonly found in puppies and how veterinarians treat each one.

1. Giardia has been the most common protozoan parasite that we have encountered in our breeding program, and other breeders have reported similar experiences. It can cause gastrointestinal illness in puppies.

Symptoms of giardia infestations can include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and a rough coat.

Treatment: Across our personal experience as breeders and in consultation with numerous veterinarians, we've observed that treating Giardia with traditional medications such as Metronidazole and Fenbendazole often necessitates multiple rounds, typically ranging from 1 to 3, to fully eliminate the infection. This prolonged treatment process can be challenging for both puppies and their owners. However, a promising alternative that has gained traction in the veterinary community is Secnidazole. This medication has shown remarkable effectiveness in treating Giardia with just a single dose, simplifying the treatment process and minimizing the stress on the affected puppies. For a more in-depth understanding of this treatment approach, we recommend seeking out informative resources such as the video linked here.

Please note, Secnidazole is not commonly stocked by most veterinarians. A prescription will need to be issued and then filled at your local pharmacy.


Antigen ELSA tests, which are commonly used to detect the presence of Giardia in puppies, can sometimes show positive results for an extended period, often more than a month, after the initial exposure to the parasite. This phenomenon occurs because the test detects the presence of Giardia antigens, which can persist in the feces even after the active infection has been cleared by the puppy's immune system. As a result, a positive test result does not necessarily indicate an ongoing active infection, but rather the remnants of the previous exposure. Veterinarians may consider the puppy's clinical signs, overall health, and additional diagnostic tests to determine whether treatment is necessary, especially if the puppy continues to exhibit symptoms associated with Giardia infection.

2. Coccidia (Coccidia spp.): Coccidia are single-celled parasites that can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss in puppies.

Treatment: Veterinarians often prescribe Albon (sulfadimethoxine) to treat coccidiosis in puppies. Albon is an antimicrobial medication that targets the coccidia parasites, helping to eliminate the infection and restore the puppy's intestinal health. Typically administered orally, Albon works by inhibiting the growth and reproduction of coccidia, ultimately aiding in the resolution of the infection. Veterinarians may provide specific dosage instructions based on the puppy's age, weight, and the severity of the coccidiosis. It's crucial for puppy owners to follow the prescribed treatment regimen and to administer the medication as directed by the veterinarian to ensure the best possible outcome for the affected puppy.

In our experience, treating Coccidia with just one round of Albon has proven to be highly effective, and we have observed that puppies often experience rapid improvement in their condition.

3. Roundworms (Toxocara canis): Roundworms are another common parasite found in puppies. These intestinal parasites can be transmitted to puppies through the mother's milk or while they are still in the womb. Symptoms of roundworm infestations can include a potbellied appearance, diarrhea, vomiting, and a dull coat.

Treatment: Veterinarians commonly prescribe Pyrantel to treat roundworms in puppies and dogs. Pyrantel is an anthelmintic medication that is effective against various parasites, including roundworms. It works by paralyzing the worms, causing them to release their grip on the intestinal wall, allowing the host to pass them out through bowel movements. This medication is often administered orally, and the dosage is typically based on the dog's weight. With proper administration, Pyrantel can effectively eliminate roundworm infestations, helping to improve the health and well-being of the affected animals.

In conclusion:

It's important for new puppy owners to understand that even with preventive dewormers, puppies can experience a "parasite bloom" after transitioning to their new homes. Changes in environment, stress, and nutrition can lead to a temporary dip in the puppy's immune system, making them more susceptible to parasite infestations. This is why regular fecal tests and close monitoring of the puppy's health are essential during the first few months in their new home.

If you notice any signs of parasite infestation in your puppy, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or a change in appetite, it's crucial to seek veterinary care promptly. Your veterinarian can perform fecal tests to identify the specific parasites affecting your puppy and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

In addition to deworming medications, maintaining good hygiene practices, such as regularly cleaning up after your puppy and preventing them from coming into contact with contaminated feces, can help reduce the risk of parasite transmission. Additionally, washing their bottoms every other day during treatment will also help prevent them from reinfecting themselves.

Utilizing the Bristol fecal chart provides a straightforward method to communicate with your veterinarian and breeder regarding the consistency of your puppy's stool. We have designated the fecals that exhibit good stools with a crown.

As responsible puppy owners, staying informed about common parasites and their treatments is key to ensuring the health and well-being of our furry friends. By working closely with your veterinarian and following their recommendations, you can help your puppy stay happy and healthy as they grow into adulthood.

Remember, early detection and treatment are essential in managing parasite infestations in puppies. Together, we can create a safe and healthy environment for our beloved canine companions. Thank you for joining us at Down Home Doodle, and we look forward to sharing more valuable insights with you in the future.


Founder of Down Home Doodle

****The information provided in this article is based on our personal experience as professional dog breeders and trainers. However, it's important to note that our insights and recommendations should not replace the advice and guidance of a qualified veterinarian. We always advocate for consulting with your dog's veterinarian if you suspect that your dog may have one of the parasites discussed in this article. Veterinary professionals can provide personalized care and tailored treatment plans to ensure the health and well-being of your furry companions.***

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