VCA Conewago Animal Hospital

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are very common among our pets. A number of the most common parasites are called zoonotic. Zoonotic means that the infected animal can pass these parasites to humans. These parasites can be found in the most unseemly places. Young puppies and kittens explore their new world with their mouths, but unfortunately, objects that find their way to the mouths of our pets can harbor very dangerous parasites. Listed below are the most commonly seen parasites, available treatments, and preventative methods to help protect your pets.


Hookworms are a common zoonotic parasite found in cats and dogs. Pets can become infected with this parasite by ingesting the larvae where they pass through to the small intestine and mature into adult worms where they reside. Larvae can also migrate through the tissues of the animal to the blood stream where they finally reach the lungs and small intestines of the host. There are various types of antiparasitic medications that can be used to treat this type of infestation, but the most efficient and economical way to protect your pet is by using a once a month tablet or topical preventative.


Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite found in cats and dogs. Roundworms are also a zoonotic parasite. Young children, pregnant women, and individuals with compromised immune systems are at a greater risk for infection if exposed to this parasite. Roundworms are prolific, meaning they can shed millions of eggs daily. Your pet can also become infected by ingesting the eggs which travel to the small intestines where they mature into adult worms. The larvae also can lie dormant in tissues of the female, migrating to the uterus during pregnancy, and migrating to mammary glands of lactating females. Numerous antiparasitic medications are available to treat this type of parasite infestation as well, but a once monthly intestinal parasite preventative is the most efficient and economical way to protect your pet from exposure.

GiardiaGiardia is a protozoan (single celled) parasite that affects cats, dogs and humans. Infected animals shed the parasite in their stool which can contaminate water sources and other animals that come in contact with the feces. This parasite prevents animals from absorbing vital nutrients in the small intestine leading to weight loss, chronic diarrhea, and damaging of the delicate lining of the small intestine. Antiparasitic medications are available to treat this infestation, however monthly parasite preventions due not prevent exposure to Giardia. For this reason, at a minimum, annual fecal screenings are strongly recommended.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

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Emergency Care

IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY DURING NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS:  Please call us immediately at 717-632-4425

IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY AFTER NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS:  Please call one of the following emergency hospitals immediately.

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of York (Open 24 hours)
1640 South Queen Street
York, PA 17403

Central Carroll Animal Emergency (Open 7pm-7am & weekends)
1030 Baltimore Blvd., Ste 180
Westminster, MD 21157