2001-Fri Apr 28 04:25:06 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Have you ever wondered why your veterinarian wants to check a sample of your pet’s poop? Well, a big reason is to look for evidence of parasites that could be living in your pet’s intestinal tract. Many intestinal parasites pose risks to your pet’s health and some can also pose a health risk to humans. Here's what you need to know about some common parasites and how to help protect your pet from them.
Signs of parasites can vary depending on the type of parasite involved, the number of worms and the age and health status of the pet. Signs can vary from none to any of the following: constipation, diarrhea, flatulence (passing gas), lethargy, pale gums, poor growth rate in puppies and kittens, a potbellied appearance, scooting on the rear end, vomiting, weakness and weight loss.
Hookworms —These small worms attach to the intestinal walls and ingest blood. Heavy infections can cause severe blood loss, anemia and pale gums. Pets can pick this parasite up from soil contaminated by hookworm eggs or larvae. Eggs ingested during grooming or licking develop into adult worms in the digestive tract, where they produce eggs that are passed out with the feces. When feces are left on the ground, the eggs contaminate the soil to potentially infect more pets and people. Hookworm larvae can penetrate the skin, so walking barefoot across the yard or playing in contaminated sandboxes or dirt can put children and adults at risk of infection.
Roundworms —Roundworms are one of the most common parasites found in the digestive tract in dogs and cats. Roundworms interfere with absorption and digestion of nutrients. Puppies can be born with roundworms, and puppies and kittens can become infected while nursing so it is very important to start deworming pups and kittens at a young age. This parasite's eggs are passed out with the feces and can contaminate the soil, so your pet could become reinfected.
Whipworms —Dogs can pick up this parasite, which is 1- to 2-inches long, by walking or playing in soil contaminated by whipworm eggs. Eggs ingested during grooming or licking develop into adult worms in the large intestine. Adult worms produce eggs that are passed out with the feces and can contaminate the soil. This parasite is rare in cats.
Tapeworms —These large, segmented worms may cause your pet to scoot on his rear end, and you may see segments of the worm in the feces or around your pet’s anal area. The immature stage of certain tapeworms can be carried inside fleas. So if your dog or cat has fleas and chews or bites, fleas can be ingested, leading to infection with tapeworms.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.