There are a number of intestinal parasites that can affect dogs and cats. While not all pet owners may be familiar with these parasites, it’s important for you to know what signs and symptoms to look for. If you think your cat or dog may have an intestinal parasite, we can help. Bring your pet to us for the proper testing, so we can determine what parasite your furry friend has. Proper treatment will make all the difference and allow for a quick recovery from any symptoms your pet may be suffering from.
Here are some of the most common intestinal parasites your pet may have:
Tapeworms are very common in cats and dogs. They can come from rodents or fleas, and your pet can’t pass them along to you. Look for small, white segments around your pet’s anus or in their stool. These segments will move if alive, and they look very much like yellowish grains of rice once they dry up. While unpleasant, they don’t cause a lot of harm and are easily treatable. The right medication will clear them up quickly, and there are steps you can take to help keep your pet from being re-infected.
Roundworms are more serious than tapeworms and will be much longer when they are expelled from the body. You may see them in your pet’s feces or vomit, and both cats and dogs can get them. They’re very common in puppies, and, if not treated, they can cause an intestinal blockage or even migrate to the lungs. Since they can also be transmitted to humans, they need prompt treatment.
Dogs can get whipworms, but they are very rare in cats. These worms are hard to detect but can cause a severe infection along with rectal bleeding, bloody stools, diarrhea, and weight loss. Even if a stool sample comes back negative, you will want to have your pet retested if another cause for their medical problem can’t be found. Because of the way whipworm eggs are shed, it’s possible to see a negative result even if your pet actually has these intestinal parasites. Repeat testing can help detect them so your dog can be treated.
Hookworms affect both dogs and cats, and they are a very serious intestinal parasite. They attach themselves to the lining of the intestine and cause weight loss, black, tarry, or bloody stools, and anemia. They can also cause sudden death in animals who are very young or old, or who are already weak or malnourished. These worms can be transmitted to people, too, and can cause skin problems and other issues. Getting your dog or cat treated if you suspect hookworms is very important for your pet’s health and your own. By keeping an eye on changes to your pet’s health, you’re more likely to catch problems early!