Parasites

Heartworm

Heartworm is a deadly parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. It is found throughout North America including Tompkins County. This terrible disease can be prevented by administering a preventative once a month. In addition, an annual blood test can be sure there has not been a break in protection. Learn more at the The Hearworm Society.

Hookworms, Whipworms (Trichuris) and Roundworms (Toxocara)

These intestinal parasites can be avoided by administering the heartworm preventative recommended by Colonial Veterinary Hospital once a month. An annual fecal examination for parasites helps us be sure there has not been a break in protection. Unfortunately, roundworm infection is transmissible to humans and is called toxocariasis. In the United States, an estimated 10,000 cases of Toxocara infections occur yearly in humans. This serious disease can cause loss of vision and/or fever, cough, asthma or pneumonia. The most severe cases are rare, but are more likely to occur in young children, who often play in dirt, or eat dirt contaminated by dog or cat stool. In addition, hookworms are also transmissible to humans. People become infected by eating or having direct contact with hookworm eggs that are shed into stool of infected pets. Learn more about dog parasites and cat parasites.

Tapeworms - (Dipylidium)

Dog Tapeworms

Dogs get tapeworms by swallowing a flea infected with a tapeworm larvae or eating an infected rodent. A dog or cat may swallow a flea while self-grooming. Once the flea is digested inside the dog or cat, the larval tapeworm is free to develop into an adult tapeworm.

The adult tapeworm is made up of many small segments each about the size of a grain of rice. As the tapeworm matures inside the intestines, the segments break off and pass into the stool. They may be seen around your pet's anus or you may find them on bedding.

Unfortunately, it is possible for humans to become infected with tapeworm in the same way a dog or cat can: by swallowing an infected flea. Most reported cases involve children. The risk of infection with this tapeworm in humans is low. The most effective way to prevent infections in pets and humans is through flea control for your pet.

Cats: Roundworm, Tapeworm, Hookworm

These intestinal parasites can be avoided by administering medication recommended by Colonial Veterinary Hospital 4 times a year for cats at risk. Risk factors include indoor/outdoor lifestyle, exposure to an infected animal, hunting, and flea infestation. An annual fecal examination for parasites helps us be sure there has not been a break in protection.

Cats get tapeworms by swallowing a flea infected with a tapeworm larvae or by eating infected rodents. A cat may swallow a flea while self-grooming. Once the flea is digested inside cat, the larval tapeworm is free to develop into an adult tapeworm. The adult tapeworm is made up of many small segments each about the size of a grain of rice. As the tapeworm matures inside the intestines, the segments break off and pass into the stool. They may be seen around your pet's anus or you may find them on bedding. Unfortunately, it is possible for humans to become infected with tapeworm in the same way a dog or cat can: by swallowing an infected flea. Most reported cases involve children. The risk of infection with this tapeworm in humans is low. The most effective way to prevent infections in pets and humans is through flea control for your pet and prompt treatment of an active infection.

Learn more about other parasites of dogs and cats.

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