Preventing and treating intestinal parasites in pets is extremely important to maintaining their health and wellness. Animals are more prone than people to intestinal parasites because they engage in different activities. They spend more time close to the ground, groom themselves by licking, ingest rodents and the like, and sometimes even like to eat things we would never dream of eating.
Mounting a good defense against these creepy crawlies is an essential part of good pet care. It is vital that pet owners understand the risks of intestinal parasites and how to prevent them.
The (Un)Wanted List
There are a few common offenders that all pet owners need to be aware of. Some of the more common intestinal parasites that affect our pets include:
Roundworms – Roundworms look a lot like white spaghetti when they are mature and are an extremely common parasite. We often find them in puppies and kittens. Some pets with roundworms may experience vomiting or diarrhea.
Hookworms – Hookworms are also not uncommon, but we usually don’t see them with our naked eyes. These intestinal parasites must be detected on microscopic evaluation of the feces. They like to hook onto the insides of the small intestines, feeding on blood.
Whipworms – Whipworms are also microscopic parasites that like to cause diarrhea. They are difficult to eliminate from a pet’s environment and are harder to treat than some other parasites.
Tapeworms – Tapeworms are often identified as small, rice-like segments attached to the fur around the rectum and sometimes in the stool. These are little parts of a larger tapeworm that lives in the pet’s intestine. Pets can acquire a tapeworm from fleas or ingesting other organisms such as small rodents.
Coccidia – These microscopic parasites are not a worm, but a single celled organism that can cause diarrhea, often with blood, and/or vomiting.
Giardia – Giardia is another single celled organism that lives in a pet’s intestine. This bacterium is often transmitted through contaminated water and may cause chronic diarrhea.
Risks of Intestinal Parasites in Pets
Besides being just plain gross, there several reasons to want to be sure that your pet does not have parasites. Pets who are infected with intestinal parasites may:
- Have trouble gaining/maintaining weight
- Have a dull or unthrifty hair coat
- Have chronic digestive problems such as diarrhea or vomiting
- Be at risk for less common problems caused by parasites including anemia, problems with the lungs or other internal organs, eye problems, or even neurological problems.
Many intestinal parasites in pets are also zoonotic, meaning they are transmissible to people. Having a pet that is infected with a parasite could be a risk to your family, especially anyone who is immunocompromised or young children.
Preventing the Creepy Crawlies
Preventing intestinal parasites in your pets is part of a good wellness care program. True Care Veterinary Hospital is here to help you accomplish this. A parasite prevention program consists of routine fecal examinations and deworming as necessary.
Routine parasite preventatives such as those found in many monthly flea and heartworm preventatives are also an important part of protecting your family, both two and four-legged. We are always happy to help you formulate a personalized parasite prevention strategy for your family’s individual needs, taking your pet’s environment and risks into consideration.
Dr. Tullio has always treated our dogs with great knowledge‚ care‚ and compassion‚ and we have grown to know him quite well. We have been so completely impressed with Dr. Tullio’s consistent excellence in care and services that we wanted to share our experience with others. We are pleased to recommend as the place to go for both quality treatment and compassionate care for your furry family members.
Doctor Tullio is a kind, caring gentleman who has cared for my cocker spaniels for many years now. He has always been helpful‚ honest‚ and understanding with my pets and me. He is a man I trust completely and have and do refer others to him. Any pet owner can feel safe and secure in trusting their beloved pets to his skilled hands.
—Margaret Rowe‚ Howell‚ NJ
Molly and Oscar have been patients of Dr. Tullio for several years. I have been very pleased with his care‚ his expertise‚ and his understanding with my two Wheatens. Dr. Tullio has been quick to diagnose any issues and remedy all of the problems we’ve had. I look forward to many more years working with Dr. Tullio. I wish him well in his venture.
When my parents’ dog Kya died very suddenly a few years ago‚ their regular vet was not at work that day. But thankfully‚ Dr. Tullio was and treated my parents and their dog as if he was their doctor for the past 15 years—doing everything he could to try and revive Kya and by being so compassionate to my parents in the waiting room after having to deliver the sad news. We truly can’t say enough nice things about Dr. Tullio and can’t wait for him to open his new facility! Thank you.
—Lori Forrest & Bob Leahy