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Intestinal parasites are very common in dogs and cats. Pets can become exposed to these parasites from the environment, through drinking their mother’s milk, and even from exposure that occurs in the uterus before they are even born! They can also become infected while hunting and eating other creatures. Because it’s so easy for pets to get infected, veterinarians recommend checking stool samples several times a year; we also recommend ‘deworming’ your pets frequently. The most common parasites that we see are hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms and roundworms.

The roundworms are a problem, and not just for your pets; they can cause a disgusting disease called visceral or ocular larval migrans in humans, particularly in children. Infection of humans can occur if roundworm eggs that are in your dog’s poop accidently gets eaten. Yikes! Roundworms migrate through the body causing pneumonia, enlargement of the liver and even irreversible blindness!

Think that your kid doesn’t eat poop? Just imagine a scenario where little Billy and Suzie are playing in the backyard where your new puppy has been playing and pooping. You call the kids in for dinner, demanding that they remove their muddy sneakers before they enter the house. They run inside, use their hands to rip their sneakers off (guess what is on the bottom of them) and then wolf down their fish sticks with those same fingers. Successful transfer by the roundworm. No puppy? Well, you might be disappointed to find that kitty has been taking certain liberties with the children’s sandbox which may create a similar scenario.

The good news is that the eggs take 14-30 days to mature before they become infectious. So, for goodness sakes, PICK UP THAT POOP! Too gross or too lazy, here is someone that will do it for you! (Visit this website anyway and watch the video which will make you laugh!)

But since you can’t control what your neighbors are doing, you should also treat with monthly preventatives! Talk with your veterinarian about the best parasite prevention program for your pet.

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