Your Pets and Intestinal Parasites

parasites and petsPets and parasites can make most people cringe.  No one wants their dog or cat to have or potentially suffer from harmful parasites.

Warmer weather brings nasty little parasites in the form of hookworms to the surface of the soil. Eggs are ingested through the skin of your dog or cat when it lies on the grass and then licks itself, or ingests dirt with larvae. The eggs attach themselves to the intestinal lining and live on the blood of the host. They then pass through the feces. They are sometimes fatal in puppies.

Roundworms also live in the intestines and in puppies sometimes cause serious symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. They are the most common of the worm problems in dogs.

Tapeworms too live in a dog or cat’s intestines, but seldom produce symptoms. However, they can be spotted in feces as small rice-looking grains. Since most of the problems with tapeworms are caused by fleas, a good monthly flea treatment is recommended.

Whitworth Animal Clinic has testing facilities and a helpful staff which will provide information on prevention and treatment of these parasites. It is recommended that you have your dog or cat tested on a regular basis.

Did You Know?

  • Dogs often get parasites at some point in their life.
  • Some dog parasites can infect and transmit diseases to humans.
  • By working with Dr. Whitworth and having your pet tested for parasites annually, you can protect your dog and your family.
  • Also, monitor your dog for changes in behavior, appetite, or water consumption that could mark a problem.

Pets and Parasites – Differences in Types of Intestinal Parasites

One major difference in these types of worms is the way in which they are introduced to the host. Hookworms are introduced to the environment through the feces of a dog or cat. It is a vicious cycle. Larvae live in the ground and when the pet comes in contact with contaminated feces, the eggs attach themselves. Roundworms are introduced in the same way, but can also be in the tissues of a small rodent. If a dog or cat eats it, the eggs are ingested. Tapeworm eggs attach themselves to many different hosts, such as rabbits, mice and squirrels. However, one type attaches itself to fleas, a common problem particularly in warmer climates. It is also interesting to note that you cannot see hookworms. Only a fecal exam under a microscope can detect them. Roundworms and tapeworms can both be seen with the naked eye.

Prevention and Cleanliness

It is important to keep the pet’s environment and the pet as clean as possible. Regardless of the type of intestinal worm, prevention is the best policy and the staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic cares about you and your pet. Consult them for a reliable prevention program.

For more information on these types of worms and other parasites, click here.