Why you need to make sure your dog’s intestinal worming is up to date


Did you know that there are several species of intestinal worms that we humans can catch from our pet dogs? Some of these intestinal parasites can cause some really nasty diseases!

#1: Hookworm

Hookworms are primarily transmitted fecal-orally to animals. Your pet may eat contaminated feces or dirt, or he might run through contaminated soil, then lick his paws and ingest the eggs in that manner.

Fortunately, since people aren’t coprophagic, meaning we don’t consume feces, that’s not how we acquire a hookworm infection. Instead, we pick up the eggs or larvae on our skin from soil contaminated by infected wild animal or pet poop.

These microscopic parasites aren’t visible to the naked eye, so looking down as you wander barefoot around your yard or garden won’t help!

To prevent a hookworm infestation, it’s important to get rid of any potentially infective feces from wild or stray animals around your property that might tempt your dog or a barefoot two-legged member of your family. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet away from the poop of other animals while you’re walking or hiking outdoors.

Puppies and kittens can acquire hookworm from their mother’s milk, if the nursing mom has an infestation.

In people, the common route of hookworm infection is through skin. Hookworm larvae have the ability to penetrate human skin - not a pleasant thought, I know, but true!

A rash typically forms at the site where the hookworm larva penetrates the skin. The most common area for a rash is on the feet of a person who has walked barefoot in sand or soil containing hookworm larva.

People who garden without gloves and handle contaminated soil will notice a rash on their hands if they’ve been infected.

It’s also possible to acquire a hookworm skin infection in the form of a “traveling rash.” If you’ve been exposed to possibly contaminated soil and you have a mysterious rash moving around on your skin, your doctor will be able to determine if you’ve picked up a hookworm infection.

Hookworm infection in your pet can’t be taken lightly. A puppy or kitten who acquires hookworms can become lethargic, weak, malnourished and anemic. It isn’t uncommon for young pets to die from such an infestation.

Infected adult dogs and cats may show symptoms of poor appetite and weight loss.

#2: Roundworms

Roundworms are large, and spaghetti-like in appearance. And they can create a full-blown infestation in your pet before you know they’re there.

By the time you see signs of roundworms in your dog’s or cat's feces or vomit, he’s overrun with them. Don’t count on seeing roundworms or hookworms to alert you to an infestation. If you suspect your pet has been exposed, you should collect a stool sample and drop it by your vet’s office for analysis.

Your pet will typically acquire a roundworm problem by eating infected feces. The infection can also be passed from a female to her unborn puppies or kittens across the placenta. The babies develop their own infection while still in the uterus and are born positive for roundworm.

Roundworm infections in people are most commonly transmitted through ingestion of contaminated soil. For example, if you pull vegetables from your garden and don’t wash them thoroughly, you could ingest soil that is contaminated with roundworm eggs.

Because humans are not the perfect host for roundworms, they tend to travel through the body and create problems like organ inflammation.

In fact, they are known to migrate through the eyes of small children. It is not uncommon for an eye doctor to discover roundworm larva at the back of a child’s eye.

For obvious reasons, it’s very important that puppies and kittens be dewormed if they are carrying a worm parasite like hook or roundworm. I recommend you have fecal specimens checked at six, eight, ten and twelve weeks.

An infected pet new to your family creates an unacceptable potential for exposure – especially when it comes to young children.

#3: Hydatid Tapeworm

Hydatid tapeworm lives in the gut of dogs, dingoes and foxes.

The worms don’t affect the dogs, but the eggs are very infective for
people, sheep and kangaroos. They can make a cyst in people
which, if its bursts, is life threatening. Though it is usually a disease
of south-eastern Australia, there have been human cases in central


The egg of the hydatid tapeworm is passed into the environment
from the dog’s gut with its faeces. From there it can get into the
ground, water supply, and vegetation. The eggs are sticky and will
stick to the dog’s coat. In cool, damp conditions, the eggs survive
for months. If these eggs get into a person’s mouth, they can be swallowed. The eggs hatch inside the person, and the larva then travels through the person’s body and forms a cyst (see photo at left). This can be anywhere, such as the liver, lungs, bone, or even brain.

The cyst grows slowly, over years, and can get very big. It can make
people feel sick because it pushes on their insides. If the cyst leaks
or bursts, it can kill people.

Adult hydatid tapeworms can only live inside dogs, dingoes and
foxes. Dogs can become infected from eating kangaroos or sheep
carcasses, then bringing the eggs into the home environment
through their poos. Dogs can only get the hydatid tapeworm from eating cysts in the lungs or liver (offal) of infected sheep, kangaroos, cattle, or pigs.

People, and sheep and kangaroos, can only get the cysts from dogs.

Breaking the links between these two groups is the key to preventing this disease.

Stopping people getting infected:
1. Wash hands after playing with dogs, being outside, cleaning the
yard, and before cooking or eating.
2. Keep the yard clean of dog faeces.
3. Don’t let dogs get into areas where food is grown or children

Stopping dogs getting infected:
1. Worm dogs every 6 weeks with an Allwormer containing Praziquantel, like Droncit, Popantel, or Excelpet Allwormer.
2. Don’t feed dogs offal unless it’s thoroughly cooked.
3. Make sure raw offal is burnt or buried deeply.
4. If you live in an area where livestock is kept don't let your dogs stray and attack stock


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