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Intestinal Worms:

Real Danger To People and Their Pets

Intestinal parasite testing is one of the most important parts of the adult pet's annual examination. In the case of puppies and kittens it can save an owner a lot of trouble not only with their pet's health, but also with human disease prevention. Few owners know that at the time they acquire a new pet there is a high probability that the pet has intestinal parasites. Almost all pets are born with round worms and/or hookworms. A large portion of these worms will remain undiagnosed and not treated, so they affect an incredible number of people.

It is estimated that 15 million people in the US alone are infected with roundworms. Most of these infections remain subclinical or cleared by a healthy adult immune system. The highest incident of reported disease is in children and immunocompromised individuals. The infected can result in catastrophic consequences. 750 children in the US loose their vision annually from migrating roundworm larvae. A study found that 37% of all retinal disease in children is caused by roundworms! Another worm that causes human disease is the hookworm. The most common form of the disease is skin rashes, but it can also cause chronic diarrhea and vomiting.

There are other worms to be concerned with, like certain types of tapeworms. The tapes we find frequently in pet dogs and cats are much less pathogenetic than rounds and hooks, but occasionally they can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains in humans. All puppies sold legally in Florida have a Health Certificate issued within 30 days prior to sale. This will document the time of intestinal parasite testing, results and deworming done by issuing veterinarian. This minimum requirement is a good way to help ensure public safety. It is critical to follow up with repeated fecal testing and deworming because a single time treatment is rarely enough to clear young pets of these parasites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended deworming with a broad-spectrum product every 2 weeks until the age of 3 months then once a month until the age of 6 months. Using these guidelines your veterinarian will advise you on the best ways to prevent intestinal parasites from becoming a serious problem, so you can love and enjoy the company of your newly acquired family member safely and without fear.

Compliments of Dr. Steve Lanko at My Pet Animal Hospital, 778 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor, 727-789-8272


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