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

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

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.

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