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Parasites Aren’t Just a Pet Problem…

One of the benefits of using Interceptor Plus heartworm prevention for your dog is that it also protects your pet from hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and tapeworm.  The first three aren’t just dangers for your dog—they can be transmitted to humans as well. Here’s what you need to know about these pesky parasites:

Roundworm: the most common of intestinal parasites, these worms are passed through animal feces or nursing mother’s milk, making young puppies and kittens particularly susceptible. Adult pets can contract them if they ingest contaminated soil or water or by licking infested fur or paws. Once the worms make it to the digestive system they steal nutrients from the pet’s food which can lead to malnutrition. As larvae move through the body, they can cause respiratory problems as well.

Hookworm: these worms are particularly dangerous because they bite into the intestinal lining of an animal and suck blood. If not treated, this can result in serious blood loss, weakness, and malnutrition. In humans, hookworm infections cause health problems when the larvae penetrate the skin, producing severe itching and tunnel-shaped red areas. If accidentally eaten, they can cause significant intestinal problems.

Whipworm: though less likely to infect humans, whipworms are another intestinal bloodsucker that can cause diarrhea, weight loss and blood loss in pets if a severe infection develops. They have a whip-like shape and like roundworms can be picked up when a pet eats infested soil or licks contaminated fur or paws. 

Tapeworm: the most common type of tapeworm in dogs is transmitted by fleas, and pets become infected by ingesting fleas directly or off mice and other rodents they eat. While tapeworm infections don’t normally cause illness in adult pets, a heavy infestation can be a serious problem for younger animals.

If you have any questions about parasites or think your pet may be infected, don’t hesitate to call us at 631-723-0500.