Internal parasites can affect your pet in many ways, from causing simple irritation to life-threatening conditions if left untreated.
Most dogs and cats at some point in their lifetime will be infected with internal parasites. Some of these parasites are zoonotic, meaning people can become infected as well. Since we interact so closely with our pets and their environment, it is important to keep them as free of parasites as possible. Zoonotic parasites are primarily transmitted to people from a contaminated environment, such as soil, and not from normal contact with pets. Transmission occurs through accidental oral ingestion of parasite eggs, an infected flea, or, in the case of hookworm, through penetration of the skin by the parasite larvae.
Protect yourself, your family and your pets by following a few simple guidelines:
– Deworm your pets on a schedule recommended by your veterinarian.
– Practice good hygiene and wash your hands especially after handling pet waste or cleaning the litter box.
– Keep all pets flea-free by using a veterinary recommended preventive year-round.
– Remove pet waste from your yard two to three times a week, before worm eggs become distributed through the environment.
– Restrict access to high-traffic pet areas and uncovered sandboxes.
– Have your pet checked at least twice a year for internal parasites.
– Wear gloves while working outside and gardening.
– Limit walking barefoot in areas of possible contamination.
Strategic deworming is the method recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, and the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists to reduce risk of infection. Strategic deworming involves a repetitive schedule starting with kittens and puppies and then regular treatment of adult pets as your veterinarian prescribes based on environmental risk. There are several flea, tick, and heartworm preventives, administered monthly, that take care of internal parasites as well. Your veterinarian can help you decide which product is best for your pet.
Did you know … one female roundworm can lay up to 100,000 eggs in one day? One female hookworm can lay up to 20,000 eggs in one day? Intestinal parasites can cause blood loss, malnutrition, diarrhea, weight loss, and dehydration?
For more information call your veterinarian and go to petsandparasites.org