14 Mar 2019
Intestinal parasites can be a very serious problem that can affect our pets as well as our families. Some infections can even become life-threatening. Common intestinal parasites include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and coccidia.
Most intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea. If left untreated, this can cause your pet to become dehydrated. Some parasites such as roundworms and whipworms can become so numerous that they can even cause intestinal blockages. Other parasites, such as hookworms, attach to the lining of the small intestines, where they feed on blood and can cause a severe anemia.
Most intestinal parasites are transmitted via infective eggs shed in the feces. Hookworm infective larvae can enter the host either by mouth or through the skin, particularly the feet. The most common species of tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) is not spread from pet to pet but instead requires an intermediate host (fleas).
Good hygiene is important to limit the spread of parasites to your pets, your family, and yourself. Always dispose of feces promptly, and wash hands regularly, especially after handling feces or playing with puppies. Avoid walking barefoot outside, especially in areas where your pet has defecated.