How to Treat Worms in Pets
Deworming medications (antihelmintics) are used to rid pets of intestinal worms. No single dewormer removes all types of worms, but many deworming products are effective for more than one type. Generally products that are effective against round-shaped worms (rounds, hooks, and whips) are not effective against flat-shaped tapeworms.
Several heartworm medications have added ingredients that make them effective against intestinal worms as well as heartworms. Deworming medications are available as tablets, capsules, granules, chewables, liquids, and topicals.
Puppies and kittens are born with worms and should be dewormed early. Waiting until 6-8 weeks of age to worm puppies and kittens allows them to spread worm eggs that will contaminate the soil and re-infect them. The Companion Animal Parasite Council, an independent group that includes parasitologists, veterinarians, pediatricians, and representatives from the U.S. Government Centers for Disease Control made these recommendations:
Puppies: Deworm every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age to 3 months, then deworm monthly until 6 months of age.
Kittens: Deworm every 2 weeks from 6 weeks of age to 3 months, then deworm monthly until 6 months of age.
Adopted puppies and kittens: Deworm immediately, with at least 2 more treatments at 2 week intervals.
Adult dogs and cats: Deworm every 3 months.
Pregnant bitches or queens can be dewormed through pregnancy and during whelping. This decreases the number of worms that can be passed to the young. Unfortunately, deworming medication does not kill hookworms and roundworms that remain hiding (encysted) within the mother's muscle tissues.
Puppies and kittens started on heartworm medications that contain intestinal wormers do not need to be dewormed every 2 weeks. No heartworm medications are effective against tapeworms, which puppies and kittens get from fleas. Either protect them with anti-flea medications or deworm for tapeworms every 3 months.