Once again, we’re ready to address a few of the nasty critters that find their way into our dogs’ and cats’ bodies. Knowing that we can keep track of what’s going on with our animals is such a relief what with the recommended annual fecal testing. Yet, how many people really know what’s hiding in there and what exactly can they do while they’re in there?
The most common of these parasites is called ‘roundworm’, this specific bug infects BOTH dogs and cats – there are actually ones specific to dogs called Toxocara canis and the ones specific to cats are called Toxoc
These worms can infect your cat or dog even as they are puppies and kittens, why is this so common you may ask? It’s because these worms can be transmitted through their mothers’ milk and even between littermates. Sometimes, when puppies or kittens are first infected, their eggs are microscopic and shed in the feces. Once the infection continues, how can we tell that your puppy or kitten might be carrying this extra weight about them? They may have diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, a dull hair coat or a pot-belled appearance. Since the roundworms are now migrating throughout the pets’ system, they are now eating almost everything they are! This is why their growth will quickly recede, and you should definitely bring your new puppy or kitten into the vet to make sure that this is something that should be taken care of and treated promptly.
Due to the nature of how these parasites can spread, they don’t just affect our animals’ well being but it is quite common to affect our and our children’s healthy as well. Since children tend to play in backyards and parks where dogs frequent their time as well and the parasite is shed in their feces, you can see what problem this causes. When playing outside and accidentally touching the feces on the ground, it is possible to actually end up ingesting these eggs as well while they lay dormant in the environment. So, once one becomes infected these worms can migrate to the eyes, lungs, heart and also cause neurological signs in people.
Children should be closely monitored when playing in areas where dogs possibly eliminate or should just avoid these areas altogether. To prevent any chance of picking up infections that these organisms carry, backyards should be cleaned of all feces and litter boxes cleaned on a regular basis.
We hope this sheds some light on this icky topic, but if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to call or visit your veterinarian today. Although de-wormers are available, it is simply more convenient and less messy to prevent the problem before it occurs!