We recommend having your pet tested for intestinal parasites yearly. It is as easy as bringing in a fecal sample for us to run. Many of the common parasites your pet can get can be transferred to you or your children.
The most common pet parasites we see in feces are roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
Pets can get roundworms by eating infected feces and things like rodents, and are most commonly transmitted from mother to kitten or puppy when they nurse. Roundworms can infect humans, generally by the human having touched the infected feces in some way and then putting his or her hand in her mouth – so ingesting the infected feces. Children are most likely to do this; however, adults can inadvertently do it also.
Signs of roundworms in your pet include:
A pot-bellied appearance.
Hookworms are passed to our pets through grooming, the larvae can burrow into the skin, and pregnant dogs can pass it to their still developing puppies, through feces and through nursing. Hookworms infect humans most commonly by burrowing into bare feet walking in an infected environment such as sandy soils.
Signs of hookworms in your pet include:
1. Pale gums and weakness from anemia
2. Bloody diarrhea
3. Weight loss
Dogs get whipworms from ingesting infected feces and/or contaminated soil. Whipworms are able to survive in the environment outside of the dog for up to five years. So once a dog has a whipworm infection it gets into the soil and is difficult to get rid of. Cats and humans generally do not get whipworms.
Signs of whipworms in your pet include:
1. Weight loss
2. Watery, bloody diarrhea
3. Seen only in dogs
Tapeworms are harder to see on a fecal exam. The eggs are usually passed in a sac that looks like a small grain of rice. It is usually diagnosed when the egg sacs are seen around the anus of the cat or dog. It is passed when your pet ingests fleas, rodents or feces. Tapeworms can be transmitted to humans when a flea jumps in his or her mouth and it is swallowed.
Signs of tapeworms in your pet:
The best way to keep yourself and your children from getting parasites is to follow these simple rules:
Wash your hands with warm soapy water before and after using the restroom and before eating, because you never know what could be on your hands.
Don’t let your children play in sandboxes that don’t have lids on them because cats that live outside will use these as litter boxes.
If you know your pet has parasites, especially hookworms, then don’t walk around outside barefoot.
If you would like any more information you can come in, call or email us. We would love to answer any questions you may have.