Worms? Oh my!

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Seeing parasites in our pets’ poop grosses just about everyone out. The dangerous parasites are actually the ones you don’t see. Generally, when pet owners see diarrhea or worms they call their vet—which they should—but not all pets with parasites have obvious signs. The stool of a pet with only a few worms may look normal but contain dozens of eggs, and the eggs of the roundworm can survive in soil for 6-10 years. Not only does that make a backyard a source of parasite infection for animals, it means that children who play there and adults who garden there can be exposed. In humans these parasites can cause more serious problems, including gastrointestinal illness and even blindness.

There are several types of worms that may affect our pets and the most common in our region are roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Roundworm can spread to people and in some cases migrate into the nervous system and eyes causing blindness. Hookworm can cause skin rashes as the young parasite migrates under human skin. Many people mistakenly think that because they don’t see any diarrhea, their pet doesn’t have parasites but this may not be true. When only a few worms are present their pet may have normal stool but pass several hundred eggs. When a dog is kept in the same yard, the eggs may begin to accumulate, constantly re-exposing the dog and any other animals in the yard. Since the eggs of roundworm cam survive a very long time—even though winter’s ice and snow, a yard that is heavily infested is a risk to humans especially when they eat with unwashed hands after cleaning up after pets. Many pet stores carry “de-worming medications” but these products rarely target all of the varieties of worms. Veterinarians can check a stool sample for the presence of parasite eggs and know exactly which parasites your pet is carrying and what medication will be safest and most effective. Your Veterinary doctor can also set up a preventative program with you to keep everyone safe.

HERE is the good news. Parasite problems can be easily controlled in our pets and good parasite control plus good hygiene can protect your family. Talk to your Veterinarian to set up an appropriate de-worming schedule.

About Stephen Gardner
SEO Consultant with Google Certification and Over 15 Years of Online Marketing Experience.