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When the poop squirms

Categories: Cats, Dogs

What does a blade of grass, a stick, and a flea all have in common? All 3, along with many other things, can be carriers for intestinal parasites.

Intestinal worms come in all different shapes and sizes but one thing never changes – they all want to steal nutrients from your furry friend. Worms like to camp out in the intestinal tract and release their eggs in the feces of the host ensuring a continued life cycle. When animals, or people, come into contact with the contaminated soil/water, the egg makes its way into the intestinal tract of the new host, matures, and continues its cycle.

The eggs of intestinal parasites can live almost anywhere. If your dog likes to play with sticks or likes jumping in puddles, they are at a higher risk of getting intestinal parasites. Indoor cats or dogs that only go outside to do their business are not immune to catching parasites as owners can track the eggs in on their shoes or pant legs. Worms can even be passed while dogs are simply greeting each other with bum sniffs.

Fleas are known to carry tapeworms and if a flea is ingested, usually while the animal is grooming themselves, the tapeworm larvae is released from the flea and matures in the cat/dogs intestines. This is why regular flea treatments are important not only for preventing fleas, but for preventing worms as well.

Intestinal parasites can be tough to notice if the infestation is not severe as they usually only show up in the poop if they are dying off or running out of room. A bum scooting across the ground can mean worms are present, but, as we talked about in our anal gland post, this may not be the only reason why that’s happening.

If you are unsure whether or not your animal has parasites, a fecal floatation can be done to determine their presence. To do a fecal float, the veterinarian will need a small sample of feces collected either during an exam or you can bring in a sample from home. If bringing it from home be sure it is no longer than 24hrs old as the sample needs to be fresh for accurate results.

It is important to talk with a veterinarian about which dewormer best suits your pets’ needs as there are many options available. The doctor will be able help you make an informed decision to help your loved one live a happy, worm-free life.

Until next time,                                                                                                                                                               CAH Team

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