What are the symptoms of Intestinal Parasite Infection?
Loose or frequent bowel movements, anal irritation, poor coat appearance, skin problems, general itchiness, bloating, weight loss, bad breath, colic, failure to thrive, loss of pregnancy, and decreased milk production.
Can I be infected as well?
Unfortunately yes, several common intestinal parasites which pose a risk to your pet can also infect people as well. In the United States alone 4,000 children a year are diagnosed with roundworm infestation, which is the second leading cause of early childhood blindness in the world. The Center for Disease Control recommends routine fecal testing and regular de-worming for all cats and dogs to help prevent these diseases in both pets and people.
How is an Intestinal Parasite Infection diagnosed?
There are two ways we are able to determine the presence of intestinal parasites in your pet. The first is through visual confirmation of the adult phase of the parasite, often visible on the hind end of the patient as they pass through the rectum. The second method is via a fecal test in which we look for the presence of eggs and cysts, or through specialized tests looking for the presence of bacteria.
So my pet has worms… now what?
Do not fear! As disgustingly unsettling as worms and other intestinal parasites are, it’s not that hard to treat and prevent them through proper medicine and preventatives. Do not be fooled by over-the-counter worming medications as they often do not treat the infection, but instead “control” it, resulting in a patient who maintains a parasitic infection long term. You should only ever give your pet dewormers and preventatives prescribed by a veterinarian as ineffective products or improper dosing can either have poor effect, or worse make your pet even sicker.