Protecting Your Pets From Parasites And Worms

Safeguarding Your Dog

We all want to take the best care of our pets that we can, especially when it comes to protecting them from parasites and worms. We watch out for fleas and ticks like it’s second nature. Many of us, however, may not know what to look at to keep them protected from intestinal parasites. Here we’ll take a look at some of the parasitic dangers posed to our pets.

About 34 percent of shelter dogs and 12 percent of pet dogs in the U.S. have some form of intestinal parasite, with hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms being some of the most frequent offenders. Intestinal parasites are prevalent.

Shelter dogs that may not have received routine care from a veterinarian throughout their lives have a higher likelihood of intestinal parasite infections than dogs that are in a forever home, but even cared for pets are burdened with these infections far too frequently.

While safeguarding dogs from fleas and ticks is often second nature to pet owners, many are less aware of intestinal parasites, which can be equally damaging to a dog’s health. Some, including hookworms and roundworms, are also zoonotic, meaning they can be passed from pets to humans.

Dogs can inadvertently contract intestinal parasites including roundworms, whipworms and hookworms through ingesting parasite eggs or spores in contaminated soil, sand, water, feces or food.  Puppies can also contract these worms from their mother while in utero or during nursing.

Particular Geographies Where Dogs are Most Prone to Parasites in the Summer Months

While these parasites can be contracted in all areas of the United States year round, the summer months tend to be most severe. The warm weather coupled with dogs spending more time outdoors in yards, at parks and at the beach creates endless opportunity for parasites to strike.

Hookworm is especially prevalent in the south and southeastern United States. Roundworm is most frequently found in the Northeast and Midwest, and Whipworm is equally common in the Midwest and West.

How Can You Protect Your Dog?

  1. Bring a stool sample to your vet for regular screening.
  2. Keep your pet’s environment clear of pet waste.
  3. Parasite control is best recommended by your veterinarian.

– via Modern Dog magazine

Protecting Your Cats From Worms

If you’re like many people, you may think that only dogs have to worry about worms. But, as it turns out, cats are just as much in danger of these sneaky parasites. Here we’ll take a look at the most common types of worms in cats, and the steps you can take to help keep your cat safe.

What Are the Most Common Types of Worms in Cats?

Roundworms are the most common internal parasites in cats. Resembling spaghetti, adult worms are three to four inches long. There are several ways cats can become infected. Nursing kittens can get roundworms from an infected mother’s milk, while adult cats can acquire them by ingesting an infected rodent or the feces of an infected cat.

Hookworms are much smaller than roundworms-less than an inch long-and reside primarily in the small intestine. Because they feed on an animal’s blood, hookworms can cause life-threatening anemia, especially in kittens. Hookworm eggs are passed in the stool and hatch into larvae, and a cat can become infected either through ingestion or skin contact. Please note, hookworms are more common in dogs than in cats.

Long and flat, tapeworms are segmented parasites and range from 4 to 28 inches in length. An infestation can cause vomiting or weight loss. Cats acquire tapeworms by ingesting an intermediate host, like an infected flea or rodent.

When cats are infected, tapeworm segments-actual pieces of the worm that resemble grains of rice-can often be seen on the fur around a cat’s hind end.
– via WebMD

How Can I Prevent My Cat from Getting Worms?

– Keep your cat indoors to avoid exposure to infected cats, rodents, fleas and feces.
– Make sure your home, yard and pets are flea-free.
– Practice good hygiene and wear gloves when changing cat litter or handling feces. It’s also important to frequently dispose of stool.
– Ask your veterinarian to recommend an appropriate internal parasite treatment or prevention program for your cat.
– via WebMD

How do you safeguard your pets against worms and other parasites? Do you find it’s easier with indoor animals or outdoor animals?

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