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Intestinal parasites or worms: prevention tips for your dog

Did you know that a recent student by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Université de Montréal* revealed that more than 25% of tested dogs, regardless of age, excrete parasitic elements? And that 80% of those pets showed no symptoms? That’s why it’s important to learn more about preventing intestinal parasites, especially because of the risk of contagion and the threat they pose to your dog’s health… and yours! Dr. Marie-Élaine Mauffette from Grande-Allée Veterinary Clinic in Mascouche, and Dominic Arpin, host of TV show Vlog, discuss the issue. (Video available in French only)

How are intestinal parasites spread?

Dog parks are the ideal place for the spread of parasites! But the simple act of walking your dog outside puts them at risk. Intestinal parasites (also known as roundworms) can be contracted in different ways, making them easier to propagate and harder to control.

How do I know if my dog is infected?

It’s not uncommon for pets to show no symptoms. If there are symptoms, they include: coughing, poor digestion, a dull coat, the inability to gain weight, worms in stools, and vomiting.

Can those parasites be transmitted to humans?

Some intestinal parasites can be transmitted to humans. Children, individuals with a weakened immune system, and pregnant women are more at risk. Humans get infected by ingesting parasite eggs laid on their pet’s coat or outdoors. In adults, parasite infection will bring about an influenza-like condition: muscle aches, physical weakness, etc. In children, roundworm larvae can cause serious injuries to the eyes and nervous tissues. Though these are rare, why run the risk?

What are the best prevention tips?

  • Get a fecal test and a deworming treatment for your dog as early as possible, and make sure to get the proper preventative follow-ups. (Your veterinarian will be able to guide you from the first appointment.)
  • Pick up your puppy’s stools to keep the environment clear of parasite eggs.
  • Keep your dog’s living area clean.
  • If you come in direct contact with soil (e.g. while gardening) or when scooping up stools, always wear gloves or wash your hands immediately. Avoid touching your face with your hands.
  • Cover sandboxes when not in use.
  • Encourage children to wash their hands after touching pets.

For more information, please contact the nearest Passionimo veterinary clinic.

*2013 Report from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Université de Montréal