If you have a pet, you may have heard of Roundworms and Hookworms. These are intestinal parasites that many pets are born with, and some contract after birth through contact with infected feces or other surfaces in parks, playgrounds, or even your backyard.
Both Hookworm and Roundworms are zoonotic parasites, meaning that they are easily passed from pets to humans, most often to children. Children seem to be more vulnerable than adults since they often play on the ground and sometimes place dirty objects into their mouths. The parasites are usually passed between species as eggs, which hatch into larvae and then begin to move throughout the body.
Roundworms move throughout the organs of the human body, most often in the liver and lungs. Left untreated, the larvae can cause significant damage to tissue and may lodge in the eye, causing permanent nerve damage or even blindness.
Hookworms move inside the skin, causing noticable inflammation. One type of hookworm can move deeper into the body and cause significant problems in the intestines and other organs.
The best way to prevent zoonotic parasites like these is to have your puppies and kittens dewormed by your vet at an early age. Once they're dewormed, keep them on a preventative program (which our veterinarians can help you with) to prevent further infection. You should also teach your children to avoid playing on contaminated soil, sand, plants and other objects where pets commonly pass their feces. At home, you should regularly remove pet waste from your lawn and keep pet kennel areas clean.
Roundworms and Hookworms are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous parasites that can cause significant health problems for both pets and humans, but fortunately they're simple and inexpensive to prevent. If your pet is not currently on a parasite preventative, please talk to one of our doctors to begin protecting you pet today!