Ask a Vet: Intestinal Parasites And How To Prevent Them
What are intestinal parasites?
They are nasty little invaders/worms that live in the gastrointestinal tract. ( We will discuss the most common today: Round worms, hookworms, tapeworms and whipworms.)
If you don’t see the worms in the feces, does that mean they aren’t there?
Just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Remember, they live in the pet’s intestine and deposit the microscopic eggs in the soil or litter box.
How do you know if your pet has these disgusting things?
Your veterinarian needs to run a test on your pet’s feces 1-2 times per year. A trained staff member will look in the microscope for the eggs. The medications can be different for the different worms so it is imperative that your vet identifies which one it is.
Will my pet have signs if they have worms?
If your pet is badly infested they may be visible. The most common signs are vomiting, diarrhea. Other signs can include a bloated belly, dull, dry coat and pale mucous membranes. But some pets don’t show any signs at all.
Can people get them?
YES! A few of these worms (hooks and rounds) can be acquired from the soil and lawn where pets infected with these parasites have defecated. These can be very serious.
Rule of thumb” have your pets checked frequently and always WASH HANDS well after playing outside in the dirt/sandbox/garden, etc. and wear shoes.
Roundworms (live in the intestines, most common in pups and kittens, cause vomiting, diarrhea, dull hair coat, bloated abdomen, and are acquired from the mommy or the soil) Hook worms (live in the intestines and suck blood from the intestinal lining causing bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and are acquired from the soil) Tape worms (live in the intestines and are acquired by eating fleas) Whipworms (live in the intestines, can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and are acquired from the soil.)
For more questions Please call your Veterinarian or contact ACAS. More online info: Veterinarypartner.com, Avma.org