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Intestinal Parasites and Your Pet 

We need to talk about worms. They aren’t a topic most people want to even think about much less talk about, but as a pet owner, you want to protect your pet (and your entire family) from these troublesome and potentially dangerous creatures.
Roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms

Roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms pose a year-round threat to dogs and cats. These worms live in the intestines of pets and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, and changes in appetite, especially in young pets and those with a large number of worms.

Puppies and kittens with intestinal worms may fail to grow properly or appear potbellied, and pets with hookworms can also end up with anemia – a potentially life-threatening condition in which the number of circulating red blood cells is decreased. However, many adult cats and dogs with intestinal parasite infections  don’t show signs of illness.



Quite small compared to other tapeworms, Echinococcus multilocularis doesn’t get longer than 1 cm while other tapeworms that infect pets can grow up to 70 cm in length. E. multilocularis infects the intestinal tract of wild canids, like foxes and coyotes, but it can infect domestic dogs, and occasionally cats, as well.

Pets who eat rodents are at risk for E. multilocularis infection, but these intestinal tapeworms don’t usually cause symptoms in dogs or cats. The real concern is the tapeworm eggs that are expelled from infected wild animals or pets. When people or other animals accidentally ingest these eggs from contaminated soil or feces, they can develop an infection called “alveolar echinococcosis” or AE. This infection causes tumour-like cysts to form in the liver and lungs. Dogs can develop AE but they are less susceptible than people.

Fortunately, AE remains rare in people, but hunters and young children are at particularly high risk for exposure to this tapeworm’s eggs. Considering that coyotes and foxes can be found in the city as well as surrounding regions, more people have a chance of becoming infected.

Most people don’t show any signs of AE infection until 5 to 15 years after infection. At that point, the cysts are often extremely tough to treat, requiring surgery and possibly chemotherapy. AE can be fatal. That’s why preventing E. multilocularis in pets is essential. 


What are signs of intestinal worms in people?


Many pet parasites can also infect people, potentially causing respiratory issues, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, skin conditions, and vision loss.


Keep these parasites away!

Being proactive is the best way to keep your pet and your entire family safe from these nasty parasites, which can cause serious, potentially lasting illness. That’s why at Vet Mobile Plus, we recommend parasite control for all our patients.

Regular parasite prevention is an important part of keeping your pet healthy and preventing disease in humans as well. We recommend annual intestinal parasite fecal testing for dogs and cats to better tailor individual protocols. Your Vet Mobile Plus veterinarian will recommend the best treatment regimen for your pet based on their lifestyle.  Talk to us about what prevention is best for your pet at your dog or cat’s next wellness checkup.

Call us today today to make sure your pet is up to date on necessary parasite control medication or to request a refill. Please give us at least 24 hours for medication refills.

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