Zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases, are those diseases that can be transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans. The three common zoonotic internal parasites in pets are roundworm, hookworms, and tapeworms. Intestinal parasite eggs and larvae are virtually everywhere in the environment, and some can survive in the soil for years with ability to infect pets or people. This is why routine deworming and prevention are so important.
Q: Do fleas on my pet present a health risk to my pet and family?
A: Yes. Fleas can carry and transmit several potential illnesses to humans, including rickettsiosis (infection with Rickettsia) and bartonellosis (infection with Bartonella). Also, fleas serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms, which can infect both your pet and humans. Fleas are an onging year round problem and pets should be given some form of preventive treatment all year. Please remember when combating a flea infestation that you must treat the pet, yard, and the living environment if you hope to be successful.
Q: What are the different kind of internal parasites or worms that can infect my cat or dog?
A: There are a number of intestinal worms that can infect dogs and cats, and they vary according to the species. In general, these include tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, and they are very prolific. In fact, one worm can produce more than 100,000 eggs per day, which are then passed in the pet’s feces and spread throughout the area the pet roams. Once in the environment, these eggs can remain infective and present a health risk for your pet and to humans for years.
Q: How does my dog or cat get intestinal worms ?
A: Dogs and cats are most commonly infected when they ingest (eat) intestinal worm eggs that have been passed through the feces of an infected dog or cat. Tapeworms can be transmitted to pets that ingest fleas or other intermediate hosts, such as small rodents, that carry tapeworm larvae. Some worm species can be transmitted to puppies and kittens through the mother’s placenta and milk.
Q: How can my veterinarian determine if my pet has intestinal parasites (worms)?
A: Most intestinal parasites can be diagnosed through a physical examination and the microscopic analysis of your pet’s feces. Your veterinarian can conduct the examination and fecal tests to determine if your pet has worms and then prescribe the appropriate treatment or preventive program.
Q: Should I be concerned about heartworms?
A: Yes. Heartworms can be a very serious problem for both dogs and cats, especially those in mosquito-infested areas, as mosquitoes are a vector and intermediate host for the pest. Heartworms can kill or seriously debilitate pets that are infected with them. That’s because heartworms live in the bloodstream, lungs, and heart of infected pets. Your veterinarian can do a blood test to determine if your pet has heartworm disease. A year-round preventive program is most effective to keep pets free of heartworms.
Q: My cat’s ears are inflamed and it shakes its head frequently and scratches its ears. Could it have ear mites?
A: Quite possibly, but your veterinarian can provide a definite diagnosis. Ear mites are common in cats and are easily passed between animals, so it is important to treat all exposed pets. Ear mites can cause severe discomfort for the pet and lead to secondary ear infections if not promptly treated.
Canine Parvovirus (CPV
Q: What is parvovirus?
A: CPV is a virus that causes severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and lethargy and is most often seen in puppies. The disease, commonly called parvo, is often fatal in pups.
Q: How is CPV transmitted?
A: The virus is spread between dogs through infected feces. The virus is very difficult to kill and can remain active in the environment for years. Vaccinations can be administered as early as six weeks of age.
Q: Can Parvo be treated?
A: There is no cure for Parvo, but the symptoms can be treated. For example, IV fluids can help prevent dehydration and antibiotics might be needed for any secondary infections. The majority of dogs will die from the disease but survival chances increase if diagnosed early. Prevention is the key....Vaccinate!
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