• Appropriately conducted fecal examinations should be performed:
- Using at least 1 g of feces and the centrifugal flotation technique, augmented by other methods (direct exams, sedimentation,
stained smears, etc.) as needed;
- Two to four times during the first year of life (may be associated with vaccine schedule);
- One to two times a year in adult pets, depending on patient health and lifestyle factors. This allows monitoring of compliance
with monthly preventive medication while facilitating the diagnosis and treatment of parasites not covered by broad-spectrum
• Puppies and kittens require more frequent anthelmintic administration than adult dogs and cats, because 1) they often are
serially reinfected via nursing and from the environment, and 2) they often harbor parasite larvae in migration that later
mature and commence egg laying. Intestinal parasite infections in puppies and kittens may cause serious illness or even death
before a diagnosis is possible by fecal examination. Puppies and their mothers should be treated with appropriate anthelmintics
when puppies are 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age, then put on a monthly preventive. Because prenatal infection does not occur
in kittens, biweekly treatment can begin at 3 weeks of age, and at 8 or 9 weeks of age they can be put on a monthly preventive.
Nursing bitches and queens should be treated concurrently with their offspring since they often develop patent infections
along with their young.
• Since geographic, seasonal, and lifestyle factors substantially affect parasite prevalence, veterinarians should tailor
prevention programs to fit the needs of individual patients.
Not using year-round heartworm preventive/intestinal parasite combination products increases the risks of parasitism in pets
and zoonotic parasite transmission. Additional diagnostic tests and anthelmintic treatment programs are recommended in this
situation. Recommendations include:
• Treating puppies and kittens early and often to prevent patent infections. When no monthly preventive is administered, deworming
should be performed repeatedly (e.g., three to four times at biweekly intervals). Ideally, deworming should take place at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age, and be
continued monthly until the pet is 6 months old. To treat for ascarids alone, begin anthelmintic administration by 2 ½ to
3 weeks of age or at initial examination and treat every two weeks for at least three additional treatments. Because prenatal
infection does not occur in kittens, biweekly treatment can begin at 3 weeks of age and be extended to 9 weeks of age, as
outlined above. Nursing bitches and queens should be treated concurrently with their offspring, since they often develop patent
infections along with their young.
• Conducting fecal examinations two to four times a year in adult pets, depending on patient health and lifestyle factors,
and treating with appropriate parasiticides.
• Determining heartworm status using an antigen test yearly in dogs and/or before starting preventive medications, with additional
testing six months after initiating or changing heartworm medication.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) is an independent council of veterinary practitioners, parasitologists, physicians,
legal experts, and others working together to create guidelines for the optimal control of internal and external parasites
that threaten the health of pets and people.