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Posted on 05-16-2018

Everything you want (and don’t want!) to know about intestinal parasites Pt 1

Have you ever looked at that sweet furry face and those heart melting eyes and thought about intestinal parasites? Probably not! You’re not alone – most pet lovers don’t like to think about the fact that their four legged best friend (or ruler, for cat people) could be harboring intestinal parasites. Hey, if you can’t see them they must not be there, right? Hmmm, wrong.

Common intestinal parasites such as roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm live in the gut and intestines. They thrive in the intestines. They want to stay in the intestines. What does this mean? Even if your pet has worms, you may not see adult parasites unless the dead ones are expelled (often they disintegrate prior) or in some cases if there are so many that they just can’t hold on and stay in the digestive tract. With that being said, you may not know your pet has intestinal parasites unless they have A LOT of them.  So if your pet has parasites but you’re not seeing them, do they pose a risk? Yes.

Dogs or cats that have intestinal parasites shed the microscopic eggs in their bowel movements.  Try as you might, you will not be able to see the eggs with your naked eye, a microscopic is needed to identify them.  Even after your pet’s bowel movement has been removed or melted into the earth, these itty bitty trouble makers can stay in the environment for YEARS.  All it takes is another unsuspecting animal to come along and sniff the ground or lick a paw and ingest eggs for another not-so-fun cycle of intestinal parasites to begin.

 

As you can see, it is very easy for intestinal parasites to spread and remain undetected for a period of time. However, these unsavory invertebrates can eventually cause our furry loved ones harm – and none of us enjoy seeing our pets feeling unwell.   Some of the symptoms include dry hair coat, distended abdomen, inappetence, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea, etc. Basically, you don’t want your pet having to deal with these intestinal hitchhikers.

 

Tips for your pet to stay intestinal parasite free:

  • Use a monthly broad spectrum dewormer (often a combined product that includes flea prevention, for convenience sake) such as Advantage Multi, Revolution or Drontal (dewormer only)
  • Have your pet’s fecal sample tested yearly at his annual checkup for common parasites that are routinely dewormed for but also for other parasites they may have picked up
  • Clean up your pet’s waste as quickly as possible
  • Do not encourage wildlife to enter your yard as they can be carriers of intestinal parasites as well

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