PARASITES! Those creepy-crawlies that can affect your pet’s health can also affect yours. “Zoonotic parasites” are those that are potentially transmissible to humans. Below are some simple tips that can help keep the entire family healthy!
Where does my pet get parasites?
In some cases direct animal to animal contact is required for pests to be spread from the infected to the uninfected. However, more often than not pets will acquire parasites from the environment… from the grass, from contaminated water sources and from other animal feces. Yes! As disgusting as it may sound dogs will often ingest the “deposits” left by others. Once a pet is infected they often become the source of their own future infections. Some parasites are extremely prolific. Roundworms, for example, can lay an astounding 200,000 or more eggs per day. In a very short time your backyard can be completely contaminated and each and every time your pet goes out, they are exposed to roundworm eggs over and over again!
Indoor cats can be exposed to parasites by spending time with an infected dog that gets indoor/outdoor privileges or by rooting around in contaminated potting soil from those beautiful indoor plants.
How can I protect myself & my family?
- Picking up after your pet in the yard and cleaning the litter box frequently will significantly decrease environmental contamination and reinfection.
- Hand washing after handling your pet is always a great idea. As parasite eggs can stick to your pet’s fur, it is wise to teach children how to wash their hands after playing with their pet.
- Don’t let your pet lick your face or mouth. After all, pets use their tongue as a form of toilet paper…yuk!
- Have your pet’s feces tested at least twice yearly by your veterinarian. Early detection of parasites can prevent your pet from getting sick and from contaminating their living space.
- Follow your veterinarian’s parasite treatment recommendations. “Deworming” your pet regularly and using monthly prevention products can go a long way in keeping you and your pet parasite free!
As many people are aware, Heartworm and Flea season is upon us here in Ontario. Many of the monthly prevention products available will not only protect against Heartworm and fleas but also intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms and whipworms as well as ear mites and mange mites.
If you need more information about parasite prevention, or help choosing the right parasite prevention product for your pet please contact us at the clinic at 905-853-4706.
Written by Allan Donais, DVM