Pet Parasites The Truth About Risks & How To Prevent…

pet parasitesDo you worm and flea treat your dog or cat regularly? If not, you could be leaving them and you at some quite serious risks. One pile of poo could contain literally millions of eggs and worms which can be passed to humans and replicate in your dog to cause fatal health conditions.

Round worms – Dogs can pick up round worm from the general environment picking up items that have been around other dog’s faeces and also from other hosts like birds and rats etc. They feed off the content of the dog’s gut and can cause diarrhoea and weight loss. Transmission to humans is not common but not impossible and can cause blindness.

Tapeworm – Tapeworms again can be transmitted in a similar way to the round worm through faeces or an intermediate host including through fleas, the commonest way that cats get tapeworm. Symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhoea, increased licking of the rear end or a pet scooting their bottoms along the floor. However, a pet may show no signs of carrying the worm at all other than possibly small rice grain like eggs in the faeces. If transmitted to humans’ tapeworms can travel through the body and can cause internal cysts and infections.

Lung worm – There have now been cases in the Chesterfield area of this killer parasite. It is passed to dogs generally by slugs and snails which can be small and consumed through drinking contaminated water. They inhabit the heart and pulmonary arteries and can cause serious and numerous symptoms including weight loss, coughing, bleeding, seizures and death. While not passed to humans this parasite is very serious for your pet.

A number of other common worms exist such as hookworm and whipworm with similar transmission and symptoms.

Fleas – The most prolific and common of parasites not just in the summer but all year round. The sobering fact about fleas in pets if you find them is that statistically at any one time only 5% of fleas live on the animal, leaving 95% to live in the general home environment and indeed on you. Fleas will cause inching and scratching by pets and you. In severe cases fleas can also cause an allergic dermatitis and especially in younger or smaller animals, anaemia.

Ticks – Ticks can be passed from animals to animal and human by the ticks falling or jumping off and lying in wait and jumping back onto another host. Importantly ticks are increasingly passing diseases such as Lyme’s disease which can again be very serious for animals and indeed humans.

While all this sounds like a parasitic minefield all are easily prevented or treated with very effective treatment from your vet. There are lots of options and don’t be tempted to go for off the shelf cheap options. Talk to your vet and ensure you protect yourself and your beloved pet with regular full spectrum treatments and enjoy the summer with your pet – pest free!

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