No pet owner wants to hear that there is a significant chance that their little loved one will become infected by a parasite at some point in their lives. Parasites are often considered gross and unclean, so the topic is often intentionally ignored. Knowing some basic facts about how parasitic infection can infect your pet will allow you, as the pet owner, to know what to look for and understand the dangers of such an infection. Pet owners in Wesley Chapel, Florida, take their pets into Pavilion Crossing Animal Hospital for parasite exams. Dr. Keshava Eega wants to ensure your pet is healthy and clean of any such parasite.
Intestinal Parasites – What Are They?
An intestinal parasite is a worm that takes primary residence in your pet’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. There are several common intestinal parasites. These include tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. The size of these intestinal parasites can differ. The potential for these worms to cause disease in your pet can vary depending on several factors, including how old your pet is and the severity of the parasitic infestation.
How Can Your Pet Become Infected With Intestinal Parasites?
Dogs sniff and ingest fecal matter. It is gross, but it is a fact. While this may just seem like something that grosses you out, it is important to realize that there is a real danger when your pet does this. The larvae of intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, hookworms, and tapeworms live in the fecal matter of various rodents and dogs. This is not the only way your pet can become infected. Fleas that are infected can also transmit the parasite to your pet. Hookworms, for instance, even burrow through the skin of your pet to lay their eggs. These are all ways your pet can become infected.
How Big Of A Deal Is It If Your Pet Becomes Infected?
When your pet becomes infected with an intestinal parasite, several adverse (and sometimes dangerous) health conditions could occur. Roundworms, for instance, can stunt the growth of kittens and puppies. Hookworms can cause your pet to come down with a dangerous condition called anemia. Any intestinal parasite can create inflammation and immune system problems in your pet. These parasites can exacerbate existing conditions such as diabetes. If an infestation is not addressed and treated, major internal systems of your pet could shut down, leading to a life-threatening situation. Have your pets checked regularly for parasites. It is a big deal that could really impair their health if not treated.
Are Intestinal Parasites Contagious?
Parasites are not contagious in the sense that they can be transmitted through the air like a cough or cold does between humans. But these parasites are incredibly easy to pass from pet to pet or even from a pet to a human. Because intestinal parasites inhabit the intestinal tract, eggs or larvae are passed through into the fecal matter. These larvae that have passed from your pet through their fecal matter then will inhabit the soil around the feces. This leaves dogs that are nearby or even children playing on the ground quite vulnerable to infestation.
Are There Obvious Symptoms?
When your pet becomes infected by an intestinal parasite, there will often be visible symptoms. These symptoms can vary depending on the type of parasite your pet has become infected with. Some symptoms to look for include:
- Blood in your pet’s feces
- Sudden weight loss
These are a few symptoms that could indicate they have become infected. Unfortunately, these symptoms do not become apparent in many cases until your pet has become quite ill from the parasitic infection. Many of these parasites will only produce eggs, which means you will not be able to rely on seeing an actual worm in the fecal matter to know that your pet has become infected. Fecal testing is the best and most effective method to test if your pet is infected by a parasite.
Share this Article:
Dr. Keshava Eega
Pavilion Crossing Animal Hospital
Dr. Keshava Eega moved to the United States in 2003 to further his passion for practicing high-quality and modern veterinary medicine in a challenging environment. Having graduated from the College of Veterinary Science in Hyderabad, India, he then completed his Master’s in Animal Science and the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam in 2006. Dr. Eega then completed his clinical rotations at the Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine and subsequently obtained his license to practice Veterinary Medicine in the state of Florida. Dr. Eega possesses thirteen years of experience in corporate practice in Orlando as both an Associate Veterinarian and a Lead Doctor. Through the course of his tenure, he has gained vast and widespread experience and exposure in both the practice of high-quality veterinary medicine and soft tissue surgeries. He also possesses professional interests in preventive care, senior pet care, skin cases, nutrition, behavior and wellness exams, particularly for both cats and dogs. Dr. Eega also possesses Fear Free certification which enables him to rid pets, owners and even veterinary health care teams of fear, stress, and anxiety. Hence, in the hands of Dr. Eega, you can be assured that your pet receives modern, customized care in a comfortable environment!