Intestinal Parasites and You

posted: by: MC Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Roundworms  are a very common parasite. They look like white, firm, rounded strands of spaghetti. Roundworm eggs are transmitted by nursing animals and by feces. It is important to keep animals clean and to inform children to keep their mouths off the dogs and to wash their hands regularly. Some of the symptoms of roundworms are coughing, vomiting, diarrhea or malnourishment.

Hookworms live inside a dog's digestive system. Puppies can acquire them from their mother when nursing or by adult dogs swallowing the parasite's eggs. Hookworm larvae live in soil, and can be ingested when the dog comes in contact via eating them or through routine self-cleaning. The most common symptoms include diarrhea and weight loss.
The only way a hookworm can enter a human is by penetrating the skin. Human hookworm infections can occur through contact with an infected animal, by brushing up against a plant containing hookworm larvae or by touching contaminated soil with bare skin.

Whipworms are shaped like a whip and resemble a small piece of thread measuring 1/3 of an inch long. Whipworm eggs are passed by the feces. Dogs catch whipworms by ingesting contaminated soil, food or feces. Infection rates in humans are high, especially in children. Weight loss is the main symptom of a whipworm infestation.

Tapeworms look like little grains of rice and can be found on the fur near pets' hind end. Humans can be infected with a tapeworm from a dog but they must ingest a flea that contains the larvae of the tapeworm. Dogs become infected with tapeworms by ingesting worm segments from the feces or by the dog swallowing an infected flea. Fleas cause itching and scratching. Flea control is very important in controlling tapeworms.

These parasites as well as others can be detected via a stool sample and are easily treated by the use of an appropriate dewormer. If you have concerns or see something that may look suspicious in your pet's stool, please contact us at 410-687-1111. Products like Sentinel, Interceptor Plus and Revolution can be used to help protect your animals from these parasites.