It’s What’s Inside that Counts! Intestinal Parasites at their Worst!
As a partner in your pet’s healthcare, South Town Animal Hospital wants to ensure that you have the information you need to keep your pets free of intestinal parasites.
Did you know?
Both dogs and cats can get intestinal parasites.
Did you know?
Intestinal parasites can be transferrable from pets to people.
Intestinal parasites may be present in your pet even if she is not experiencing any symptoms!
What are intestinal parasites?
Intestinal parasites are organisms that live in the host’s gastrointestinal tract. Companion animals typically acquire intestinal parasites by ingesting the eggs or spores. They can also contract parasites in utero or while nursing. Intestinal parasites are found in contaminated soil, water, fecal matter, or food. They can even be found in the soil of your house plants!
It is veterinarian recommended to have your pet’s fecal sample tested every 6 months since intestinal parasites are so prevalent in the environment & spread easily.
Types of Intestinal Parasites
Roundworms– These common intestinal parasites can look like spaghetti. Roundworms can be contracted by either or licking contaminated fecal matter and also transmitted from mom to babies in utero or nursing.
Hookworms– These parasites attach to intestinal wall and suck blood and nutrients from their hosts.
Giardia– This parasite is contracted through contaminated water or areas soiled with feces. It is not visible with the unaided human eye.
Coccidia– Is a microscopic parasite that can be spread through contaminated feces. This intestinal parasite can be found in both cats and dogs.
Tapeworms– Transmitted by infected fleas. These types of intestinal parasites often resemble small pieces of rice. Your pet may have a higher chance of acquiring tapeworms if she enjoys catching rodents and other wildlife (which are prone to flea infestation).
Whipworms-These intestinal parasites live in contaminated soil. After ingested, whipworms will then survive in the pets intestines.
Signs Your Pet May Have Intestinal Parasites:
Intestinal parasites may cause your pet to exhibit one or more of the following signs or
There are many times that our pets may seem perfectly healthy, and they may not show signs or symptoms of intestinal parasites at all! The best way to diagnose an intestinal parasite is through examination of a fecal sample.
What is Zoonotic?
Zoonotic simply means that a disease or parasite can be transferable from animals to people. Many of these intestinal parasites found in our companion animals can transmit from pets to humans. Intestinal parasites can also lead to secondary infections and diseases.
Testing for Intestinal Parasites
Unlike heartworms, that are tested using a sample of blood, intestinal parasites are found in your pet’s stool. A stool sample, the size of a walnut, is all we need to run the intestinal parasite screening. The sample is sent off to the lab where it is analyzed under a microscope. The results are then sent back to our veterinarians to determine the course of treatment needed.
Treatment for Intestinal Parasites
For most intestinal parasites oral dewormers are used. There are various deworming medications that can be prescribed depending on the parasite. If you suspect your pet may have an intestinal parasite, it is important to have your veterinarian test a fecal sample in order to identify which type of intestinal parasite may be present.
There are ways to avoid these pesky critters. Monthly preventatives such as Heartgard and Revolution have a deworming component. Our veterinarians recommend giving your dog Heartgard year-round because the medication not only protects against heartworms contracted from mosquitoes, but it also has a deworming component for common intestinal parasites, such as roundworms and hookworms.
For cats, we recommend a topical medication called, Revolution. This monthly deworming medication is for treatment and prevention against roundworms and hookworms. It also protects against fleas and ear mites.
If you have more questions, please contact the office at (847) 695-7387, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you if you have any questions or concerns. If pets are on monthly prevention, an annual stool sample is checked, and we keep our yards clean of fecal matter, then responsible pet ownership is being practiced. Safety of the entire family is a top priority at South Town Animal Hospital.