Pesky Parasites

In the last several weeks we have been doing a lot of talking about heartworm disease and its preventative products for your pets. This week I would like to review the other internal parasites that affect your pets’ health, how some of those parasites can impact your family, and how some of those heartworm preventatives have an important product combined with them!

Roundworms, such as Toxocara canis, are very comm+on in our pets, especially puppies. Roundworms are commonly contracted by puppies in utero (in the womb) from their mom or adult dogs coming in contact with infected fecal material. Toxocara can be transmitted to people, especially children, by ingestion of soil with aged (most often 3 weeks or more) fecal material present. Toxocara can migrate through a person’s body (AKA visceral or ocular larva migrans) and in some cases cause eye damage, neurologic disorders and other organ damage.

Hookworms, such as Ancylostoma caninum, are carried by cats and dogs of all ages and transmitted in their fecal material. Worms mature within the fecal material in a couple of days and can be transmitted to people through skin contact such as through bare feet. Hookworms then can cause a disease called cutaneous larval migrans, where the larva cause severe skin irritation to the person.

Other parasites pets encounter includes tapeworms contracted from fleas, rodents or rabbits, whipworms contracted from pet’s environments and numerous other intestinal bugs that damage your pets’ gastrointestinal system and overall health.

Many of the heartworm preventative products include products such a pyrantel, praziquantel, milbemycin, ivermectin derivatives and others that kill not only just heartworm larvae but these other nasty bugs as well. Not all products are created equal and not all products kill the same parasites with the same efficacy. Make sure to consult your veterinarian on the best products for your pet and your family.

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