Prevention, internal, parasite, disease, roundworm, puppy, kitten, cat, clean, hookworm, immune, infection, worm, deworming, hygiene
Did you know that your veterinarian can help keep your child healthy? No we are not going to vaccinate your child or even give him or her a physical examination but rather by keeping your dogs and cats internal parasite free.
You may be surprised to learn that the center for disease control estimates that upwards of 4000 Americans are affected by internal parasites every year. They commonly have contracted them from their pets. The numbers may actually be much higher because there is no mandate to report these cases. Prevention of these potentially serious infections can be achieved by simple routine deworming of cats and dogs and good personal and environmental hygiene.
Roundworms are the most common internal parasites found in pets. A puppy can become infected while it is still in the uterus. Kittens as well as young dogs can also become infected while nursing. Older pets are at risk when they step in contaminated feces and then grooms themselves, or from playing with fecal tainted toys. Ingesting polluted dirt can also be the culprit. .
Hookworms are the second most common type of internal parasite. Puppies and kittens are at risk in the same manner as they are with roundworms.
So how can worms that affect pets affect your child and why mainly children and not adults? Children and pets go hand in paw. Children are not always the best at keeping things out of their mouths and washing up after playing. These activities can facilitate the oral/fecal route of infection. Playing in the dirt and running around barefoot are great sport but a condition known as cutaneous larval migrans can result. The hookworm larvae found in the soil directly penetrates the skin and causes severe itching and tunnel-like lesions where it burrows through the skin.
Now I am not trying to scare you. I just want you to be aware of the potential risks and work with your veterinarian to protect your family. When your pet's doctor recommends placing your dog or cat on a monthly deworming program, hear him out. Even if your pet is an indoor cat that never goes outside or a dog that really just stays in the backyard, it is a potential source of internal parasites for your family. The deworming medication is an inexpensive insurance measure meant to keep your family and pet healthy.
Teach your children to practice good personal hygiene measures. How can you get them to wash their hands long enough to rid themselves of any `bugs'? Try having them sign the `happy birthday' song while they lather up with suds from a child friendly soap dispenser.