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Why an intestinal parasite test is so important for you and your pet

Did you know that some of the intestinal parasites your pet could have are contagious to you and your family?

The most common type of parasitic worms are roundworms and hookworms.  These are both intestinal parasites which live and grow inside the intestine of your pet.  Those pets that show signs of infection may have vomiting, loss of appetite or severe weight loss.  Heavy infections in young puppies and kittens can be fatal.

Dogs and cats contaminate the ground by passing eggs of the parasites in their feces.  The eggs are very resilient and remain in the ground where a healthy pet passes by and picks up the eggs on their feet, clean their feet and ingest the eggs, then they are infected.

People get roundworms and hookworms through direct contact with infected feces.  This is usually by unknowingly ingesting contaminated soil or plants.  Children are most susceptible to getting these infections because they are more likely to put their hands  or dirty objects in their mouth.

How can roundworms and hookworms affect people?

In most cases roundworms cause no symptoms or damage to people. But in some cases they cause a condition called Visceral Larva Migrans . This condition causes damage to the tissue and sometimes affects the nerves or even lodge in the eye,  In some of these cases they cause permanent nerve or eye damage, even blindness.

Hookworms move around within the skin of people causing inflammation in the affected skin.  This is called a Cutaneous Larva Migrans.  Although one type of hookworm can penetrate into deeper tissues and cause damage to the intestines and other organs.

Below are pictures of what the three common intestinal parasites look like in your pets feces.  There are many more graphic pictures on the internet showing human infections (just google images for hookworm infection in humans).

An intestinal parasite exam is recommended  once a year with your pets annual exam.  Once initially treated for the parasites that are found, we also recommend monthly de-worming with  your monthly heartworm prevention.  Heartworm prevention  also deworms for roundworms and hookworms so your pet is protected all year long.

Tapeworms are caused by your pet ingesting an infected flea.  The segments of these intestinal parasites are usually seen in the feces and are very small ( about the size of a grain of rice).  Unfortunately,  heartworm prevention does not deworm your pet for tapeworms, additional medication is needed to rid your pet of these parasites.

Now for some trivia about intestinal parasites:


Cockroaches, mice and flies all can carry roundworm eggs. Cats are natural hunters and will hunt them.

 Infections acquired from animals are called zoonotic ( zoe-o-not-ick) infections.

5 percent of commercial potting soil contains round worm eggs.

It is estimated that 3 million to 6 million people in the United States may be infected with roundworm larva                 migrans each year.


Last week’s question was :

How many times a year is it recommended that a senior pet see their vet?


And the winner is Kristen Parzych  who answered : every six months


And this week’s question is : How does your pet get tapeworms?


Please leave a comment to this blog with your answer or send us the answer via e mail to by noon on Friday  to be eligible to win the weekly prize.

** Please note , you can win more than once and you can win consecutive weeks , so keep on answering the questions!

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