About Worms

Roundworm & Hookworm

Heartguard Plus, Interceptor, Sentinel and Revolution are a few heartworm medications, which also kill the intestinal worms that are common to our area. By using these products, we eliminate the need for routine fecal examinations and separate worming medications.

However, if you puppy has persistent diarrhea, please bring in a small fecal sample to check for less common parasites.


If you see little, short, white worms (1/2 inch long or less), these are probably tapeworm segments. If you see anything like this, let us know and we will medicate your pet. Prescription tapeworm drugs are extremely effective, very safe and cause no discomfort whatsoever. Non-prescription tapeworm remedies are ineffective and may well cause intestinal cramping and diarrhea.


Due to the large population of a mosquito species here in Northern California heartworm has become a serious problem. These mosquitoes transmit the disease by biting the pet. In our area, dogs that do not receive prevention medicine, especially if they sleep outdoors, may get heatworms. If treated early on, it is sometimes possible to save the pet, but treatment is difficult, dangerous and expensive.

Even with treatment, heartworms cause permanent damage. Regular testing, followed by treatment when needed is not a reasonable alternative to prevention.

Heartworm Prevention

We recommend Interceptor, Heartguard Plus, Sentinel or Revolution for heartworm prevention. All of these options are easy, effective and safe. They need only be given once a month. In addition, many of these drugs kill (in addition to heartworm) hookworms, whipworms and roundworms. It is extremely important to use these preventative mechanisms once a month without fail.

Heartworm Testing

Dogs with heartworm disease ordinarily have adult male and female worms living in the heart, and microscopic offspring heartworms throughout the bloodstream. Heartworms mature only after passing through a mosquito. Because we cannot detect heartworms until about six months post infection, we never know for sure if puppies already have heartworm when we start them on prevention medication.

Although this is a concern, the risk of becoming infected as a puppy is small and we can safely wait to perform an initial heartworm test until about fifteen months of age, when rabies and distemper booster vaccines are given. After that, we encourage you to test every two years to protect against the small possibility that a dose has been missed, or the extremely small possibility that the medicine is not working.