Did you know that your pets have the potential to spread disease and parasites to you and your family? As a parent of young children and four fur-babies, this is a real concern for me. Zoonotic disease is the term used for those diseases that can be transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans. We can also be directly affected by vector-borne diseases, which are diseases transmitted by fleas or ticks. The most well known vector-borne disease is Lyme disease.
It is common for puppies and kittens to be born with intestinal parasites, and adult pets can be infected as well. At least with our pets, there are ways that we can prevent the infections, but parasites carried by wildlife can be particularly concerning. The best way to prevent transmission from wildlife is not to feed wildlife, or do not allow children to play in areas frequented by wildlife.
One of the most common parasites is Toxocariasis (Roundworms). It is a parasitic worm infection that results from the accidental ingestion of parasite eggs passed in feces of infected cats, dogs and wildlife. Children are particularly vulnerable to Toxocara parasites, developing fever, and damage to their lungs and liver, as well as visual loss.
Reducing the Risk for your Family
There are several ways to reduce the risk of parasitic infection to your pets and family.
- Avoid eating raw meat
- Restricting access to contaminated areas
- Practicing good personal hygiene
- Disposing of pet feces regularly
- Wash fresh fruit and veggies
Parasites, including fleas, can infect your pet any time of year. With the guidance of your veterinarian, we can help you find the appropriate prevention to use year-round to keep your pet and family safe.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council is a fantastic resource if you would like more information.
Written by: BJ, CCR