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Pet parasites don’t take vacations

Posted April 10, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

Pets share our homes, our kitchens, and, in some cases, even our beds. Unfortunately, they might also be sharing some unwanted guests — worms. Unlike fleas that sometimes give us a break during colder weather, these parasites can cause problems all year long.

Most people don’t realize it, but most all puppies and kittens are born with roundworms, hookworms or even both. Adult pets aren’t immune to these parasites either. Adult female worms shed enormous numbers of eggs into the soil. It’s not unusual for more than 200,000 eggs to be shed every single day per female worm. Eventually these parasites cause bloody, runny stool or vomiting. But beyond their immediate effects on the animals, there is an even more sinister side. Both roundworms and hookworms are zoonotic, meaning that they can be passed to humans. Children are especially susceptible and in extreme cases, young children have lost an eye to roundworm infections.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that almost 14 percent of the U.S. population is infected with roundworms. That’s nearly 40 million people. It is for this reason that the CDC recommends dogs and cats have veterinary laboratory stool tests every six months.

Our pets are a big part of our lives, and we want to share as much as we can with them. Following your veterinarian’s guidelines could mean that you can share a much longer, healthier life together. For more details, check out our website at or call us.

Information provided by Dr. Jen Emerson-Mathis, Family Pet Veterinary Center, 224-9750, or

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