Dog worms are a huge problem for people and their pets. It is especially important to treat worms in dogs because certain dog worms can be transmitted to humans. Dr. Sam discusses dog worms and how they affect your dog as well as the potential to affect you and your family members.
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Worms in Dogs
Almost 14% of the U.S. population is infected with Toxocara, a parasite of dogs and cats that can be passed from animals to humans. The results of the study that looked at a representative sample of the U.S. population show that Toxocara infection is more widespread and common than previously understood.” – from the CDC quoting a recent research study.
Toxocara sp worms otherwise known as roundworms in dogs can cause diarrhea and weight loss in puppies and adult dogs. They also can affect people when the eggs or larvae are ingested accidentally causing a condition called “visceral larva migrans.” The larvae migrate throughout the body in people and most of the time do not cause permanent damage. Rarely, however, they can cause permanent damage by traveling through and damaging nerve or retinal tissue causing blindness. This is why it is so important for your family pets to be placed on a strict intestinal parasite control program. In addition, have your children avoid sandboxes and wash your hands after handling soil.
Hookworms are another common intestinal worm that we see in dogs. This worm in large quantities can cause diarrhea and rapid intestinal blood loss especially in puppies. The human version occurs when larvae crawl around in our skin tissues causing a condition called “cutaneous (skin) larva migrans.” People can pick up these worms by running around barefoot in places where pets defecate (sandboxes, yards and beaches).
Other worms in dogs include whipworms and tapeworms. Whipworms cause dog colitis and tapeworms although not very damaging are spread through the flea.
- Sam Meisler DVM
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