Children love to play in sandboxes and in the dirt. Is it safe or can kids be exposed to your pet’s parasites? Kids are very vulnerable to parasites. Unfortunately young children tend to put their hands in their mouth just before you get a chance to wash them.
Parasite eggs are all microscopic and can be found in the playground, backyard, and sandbox. Puppies and kittens can be born with internal parasites that may lie dormant for a long time. Human children can become infected by playing with infected dogs or cats, and in commonly used areas such as playgrounds, parks and sand boxes contaminated by a bowel movement from an infected animal. With roundworms (Toxacara canis), the adult worm lays the microscopic-sized eggs which pass in our pet’s feces and contaminate the environment. This egg can be ingested by another animal and a larva develops from it. Larval infections in humans can cause diseases that can involve lungs, liver, heart muscle, eyes, and brain. A recent study done by the Center for Disease Control shows that almost 14% of the United States population is infected with Toxacara.http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/toxocara/Toxocara_announcement.pdf
At Manchaca Road Animal Hospital, we routinely check for intestinal parasites. In lab diagnostics, we use a solution of zinc sulfate to detect the parasite eggs of roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms which are very common in dogs and cats. Deworming our pets before or after finding the parasites is the first treatment of choice. A tablet dewormer (Drontal Plus for dogs and cats) or a topical dewormer (Profender for cats) can also be used to prevent reinfestation from occurring. For fleas and intestinal parasites (hookworms, roundworms,whipworms and tapeworms), Advantage Multi topical solution is used monthly and applied directly to your pet’s skin. This product prevents heartworm disease, kills adult fleas and controls flea infestations, and treats and controls intestinal worms. A good health plan for prevention of intestinal parasites includes updating your pet’s annual physical examination, vaccinations, and laboratory tests and treating monthly for fleas and heartworm disease.