If your puppy died after deworming, or you’re worried about the risk factors, this guide is for you.
Deworming is a common method veterinarians use to remove parasitic worms from dogs. The procedure is generally safe for dogs when the associated medication is administered correctly. However, your puppy’s reaction to the deworming medication can result in complications or even death in rare cases.
Most dogs experience mellow and temporary side effects, such as lethargy or mild gastrointestinal upset. Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, seizures, and respiratory distress are all possible side effects of deworming medication.
You’ll want to discuss any potential risks with your veterinarian and closely monitor your dog for signs of adverse reactions after they undergo the deworming treatment. So although it’s extremely rare, puppies can die from the procedure’s side effects.
But how can such a seemingly straightforward deworming treatment kill a puppy?
How Do Dogs Act When They Have Worms?
Dogs with worms may exhibit a variety of symptoms, depending on the type of worm and the severity of the infestation. On the other hand, your dog may not show any symptoms at all, making a worm infestation difficult to diagnose without a fecal exam performed by a veterinarian.
Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for keeping your dog healthy and parasite-free.
Roundworms are the most common parasitic infection in puppies. These worms get passed from the mother to her puppies during birth or through her milk. Roundworms live in the intestine and feed off of undigested food.
Many dogs that have roundworms show no signs of infection. In severe cases, your dog will have diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, reduction in coat appearance, lethargy, and a potbelly if the infection is severe. You’ll notice roundworms moving in your dog’s feces or vomit in a serious infection.
Hookworms also live in your dog’s intestines, but these creatures don’t eat undigested food. Instead, they use their hook-shaped heads to attach themselves to your dog’s intestine. From there, they eat your dog’s blood for nutrients.
Hookworms drink a lot of blood, considering their small size. During a severe infection, your dog will develop anemia. Anemia is a lack of red blood cells, which can cause lethargy, pale gums, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, faster heart rate, and heavy breathing.
Other signs of hookworm infections include intestinal effects. Your dog may vomit or defecate blood. In puppies, hookworms can cause malnutrition and a lack of growth, which can cause death.
Whipworms live in your dog’s intestines, where they cause devastating symptoms. Like hookworms, whipworms attach themselves to the walls of the intestine and feed off their blood.
Compared to other intestinal worms, whipworms cause the most significant symptoms. Whipworms can cause your dog to act weak, develop anemia, become dehydrated, lose weight, and have watery or bloody diarrhea.
Tapeworms are long parasitic worms that infect dogs’ (and humans’) intestines. These creatures are flat and can reach lengths of several feet!
Tapeworms attach to the inner walls of the intestine and feed off the food your dog digests. Although tapeworms are gross, they aren’t the most deadly intestinal parasite for mature dogs. In most cases, you’ll see an increase in your dog’s appetite and how often they scoot their butt on the ground.
Puppies are in more danger when it comes to tapeworms. They can cause anemia, intestinal blockages and prevent growth. If you notice your puppy getting tired and dragging its butt more often, they most likely have tapeworms and you should treat it immediately.
Just like the name suggests, these worms infect your dog’s heart. The reason this worm is the worst of all is that the infected can take months or even years before it shows any symptoms.
Heartworms can live for nearly a decade in your dog’s heart, arteries, and lungs. Due to the lengthy diagnostic process, you may not even realize your dog is experiencing and infestation.
If you notice your dog dry coughing or appearing short of breath, this could be a sign of heartworms. Fatigue, weakness, and disorientation are other symptoms to watch out for.
Heartworm becomes fatal when the worms clog the heart and cause it to fail. Fortunately, heartworm treatments for dogs are available through using preventative pills or injectable treatments.
Can a Puppy Die From Deworming?
Yes, puppies can die after deworming treatments.
Deaths are most common in puppies with severe worm infections or in puppies who are not regularly dewormed. As a puppy’s infection progresses, more and more worms settle in their digestive tract.
The most common deworming medications for puppies use pyrantel or fenbendazole. When the dewormer begins working, it paralyzes or kills the worms. Normally, your puppy would then pass the worms out of its body by excreting them.
But if your puppy has an especially significant infection, those paralyzed or dead worms become stuck and trapped in their colon. When they’re trapped, your dog can begin having serious symptoms, including:
- Pain, especially near their stomach
- Yelping or squealing
- Pooping blood
- Vomiting worms
If you’ve recently given your puppy a deworming treatment and you notice any of these symptoms, take them to the vet. Because your puppy is unlikely to die immediately after experiencing these symptoms, the sooner you get it to care, the better chance you have of preventing them from becoming fatally ill.
Dewormers are potent substances, so if you’re unsure about how to administer them, take your puppy to the vet. A dewormer overdose can be fatal more often than not.
What are the Side Effects of Deworming a Puppy?
The vast majority of deworming treatments occur without causing death.
The most common side effects of deworming medication are:
- Upset stomach
- Reduced appetite
How Long Do Deworming Side Effects Last in Puppies?
Side effects can last up to 48 hours after deworming, but most puppies recover in less than 24 hours. You should bring your dog to the vet if their side effects last more than 48 hours.
Can Worms in Puppies Cause Death?
Consider how serious complications from surgery can be, but allowing a tumor to continue wreaking havoc on your body is far worse. Even if the treatment is risky, not treating the tumor is far more dangerous. The same holds true for worms in your dog. An untreated worm infestation can kill a puppy, making avoiding deworming procedures far more dangerous.
Even roundworms, which most puppies develop at birth or from their mother’s milk, can kill a puppy if they’re not treated properly and timely.
In puppies, untreated roundworm infections cause:
- Abdominal pain
- Stunted growth
Worms rob the puppy of the essential nutrients it needs, especially at such a young age. Thus, the puppy begins to slowly die from malnourishment.
How Long Can Puppies Have Worms Before They Die?
Because of the difference in symptoms, worm species survive for different amounts of time before killing your puppy.
Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms live by feeding off the nutrients or blood your puppy needs to survive. These types of worms usually live for months before causing enough malnutrition to kill your puppy.
Other worms, such as heartworm, are serious but take a long time to develop. Mosquitoes spread heartworm when they suck blood. Heartworms then mature and travel to the heart and lungs, where they feed. Heartworm requires at least six months to develop into a life-threatening infection.
What To Expect After Deworming a Dog?
After deworming your dog, don’t expect them to act perfectly normal after the procedure. Just like when humans take medication, dogs are sensitive to changes in their bodies.
After you deworm your dog, expect to see worms in their poop for the next few days. Their stool may also be watery or have diarrhea, which is normal. Small changes in energy level are normal, too.
Your dog should return to their normal, energetic, and friendly self in just a couple of days. However, you should take your puppy to the vet if you notice any differences in its personality for more than four days.
Can a Puppy Get Sick From a Dewormer?
Indeed, dogs can feel ill after receiving worm treatment. Because deworming drugs are quite powerful, they might disrupt your dog’s health. Although not all puppies get sick after deworming, most will suffer some sort of pain or discomfort.
How Long Will My Puppy Be Sick After Deworming?
All dogs react differently to deworming medication. Your dog should recover in about two days if they become ill after taking a dewormer. Take your dog the veterinarian to make sure nothing is wrong if they’re still sick after 48 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions we get about deworming puppies.
You need to deworm your puppy often. Vets recommend deworming your puppy when they’re two, four, six, eight, and twelve weeks old. It’s best to deworm often because a major infection can lead to death if untreated.
After twelve weeks, vets recommend deworming your dog every three months. At that age, you can give your dog preventative heartworm medication that usually includes a dewormer with the heartworm medication.
Dogs will normally poop worms for a week after being treated with a dewormer. However, in less common cases, your dog may poop worms for up to two weeks. If you notice worms after treatment, take a look at them. If the medication worked, the worms should be dead.
The best time to deworm your dog is in the evening before you put it to bed. Because the drug takes time to function, feeding it to them in the evening is the best option. Then, when you wake up in the morning, you can take them outdoors to do their business and see the results.
You may need to get up earlier to check on your dog because dewormers might cause stomach discomfort, so it’s better to take your dog out before any accidents occur inside.
Although it isn’t necessary to pair the medication with food, a lot of dogs won’t just willingly take a dewormer. Feeding your dog the dewormer with an empty stomach is ideal, but putting some food by the side is fine too.
The best way to use a dewormer is to give the medication to your dog and, between 30 minutes and an hour later, feed your dog. That way, the medication can absorb, and your dog won’t be hungry for too long.
Conclusion for “Why Your Puppy Died After Deworming”
If your puppy died after deworming, it’s a tragedy. Unfortunately, although it isn’t a common occurrence, it still happens every year. The best way to prevent death after deworming is to deworm your dog regularly and always follow the instructions on the medication.
If your dog has persistent signs of discomfort after you give them treatment, don’t hesitate to contact or visit a vet. They can help identify and treat any negative consequences caused by a worm infection or deworming medication.
If you find this guide, “Why Your Puppy Died After Deworming,” helpful, check out:
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Learn more by watching “How to Deworm a Puppy Yourself At Home (And What You Must Know Beforehand)” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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