The Hidden Dangers of Intestinal Parasites: Why you should get a fecal done on your pet.
At some point in your dog’s lifetime they will probably be infected with an intestinal parasite. Parasites are common, but if not treated they can cause significant health problems. Some parasites can even infect and transmit diseases to humans. Intestinal parasites live in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. The most common intestinal parasites are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, giardia, and coccidia.
Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite and are also the most likely to be transmitted to humans. Intestinal parasites are usually hard to detect, as dogs that become infected with them are usually asymptomatic. However, the most commons signs that they may be infected are:
- Distended abdomen
- Weight loss
- Occasionally coughing
You will not usually be able to see intestinal parasites on your own as they pass microscopic eggs or spores in your pet’s stool that the naked eye cannot see. However, tapeworms and roundworms do have some visible signs. For tapeworms, you will want to look for something that looks like grains of rice in their stool or around their rectum. Roundworms can also usually be seen in your pet’s vomit or stool.
Intestinal parasites can infect your pet at any time during the year. It is ideal to practice year-round prevention to help your pet avoid becoming infected. Below are some important guidelines in the prevention of intestinal parasites:
- Minimize your pet’s exposure to high-traffic pet areas such as dog parks
- Clean up your pet’s feces regularly
- Practice good personal hygiene after handling feces.
- Never feed your pet raw meat
- Visit your veterinarian for annual testing and physical examination
- Administer worming medications as recommended by your veterinarian.
Your pet should be checked annually for intestinal parasites or if you suspect infection it is best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian right away so the proper tests and treatment can be prescribed. Dr. Alex of Pet Xpert Animal Clinic is here to serve you if you suspect intestinal parasites may have infected your pet. Schedule your appointment today by calling 407-886-PETS(7387)!