General Guidelines

  • Current Advice on Parasite Control:

    - General Guidelines

    Last reviewed and edited Jun 2015

  • Current Guidelines

    Parasite Testing and Protection Guided by Veterinarians

    • Conduct preventive physical examinations at least every 6 to 12 months.
    • Conduct annual heartworm testing in dogs; test cats prior to placing on heartworm preventive and thereafter as indicated. 
    • Test annually for tick-transmitted pathogens, especially in regions where pathogens are endemic or emerging.
    • Conduct fecal examinations at least four times during the first year of life, and at least two times per year in adults, depending on patient health and lifestyle factors.
    • Prescribe control programs to local parasite prevalence and individual pet lifestyle factors.
    • Adapt prevention recommendations to address emerging parasite threats.
    • In areas where Lyme disease is considered endemic, vaccinate dogs against Borrelia burgdorferi.

    Every Pet, All Year Long

    • Administer year-round broad-spectrum parasite control with efficacy against heartworm, intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks. Control of parasites with zoonotic potential is essential.
    • Administer anthelmintic treatment to puppies and kittens starting at 2 weeks of age and repeating every 2 weeks until regular broad-spectrum parasite control begins.
    • Maintain pregnant and nursing dams on broad-spectrum control products.

    Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Pets, Healthy People

    • Feed pets commercial or cooked food (not raw diets) and provided fresh water.
    • Cover sandboxes when not in use, and protect garden areas from fecal contamination.
    • Pick up feces immediately when walking a dog in a public area and from the yard on a daily basis.
    • To prevent roaming and limit predation, keep dogs on a leash or behind a fence and keep cats indoors.
    • Permanently identify dogs and cats through microchip implantation.
    • Do not handle animal feces or urine with bare hands, and wash hands immediately after incidental contact.  This recommendation is particularly important for children and individuals at increased risk.
    • Properly dispose of animal waste according to local municipal regulations.
    • Spay or neuter all pets not intended for breeding.

    If Less Than Optimal Control Is Practiced

    • For puppies and kittens, administer anthelmintics starting at 2 weeks of age, repeating every 2 weeks until 2 months of age, monthly until 6 months of age, and quarterly thereafter.
    • Treat all adult pets four times a year with a broad-spectrum anthelmintic with efficacy against intestinal parasites.
    • Conduct fecal examinations at least four times a year, depending on patient health and lifestyle factors.
    • Encourage annual testing for heartworm and other vector-borne infections in dogs and routine, year-round use of heartworm preventive, monthly intestinal parasite control, and flea and tick control in all pets.