Jan 25 2016

Zoonosis – What is it?

Zoonosis & People – The OTHER reason we recommend monthly heartworm prevention that also deworms your dog or cat…..

Do you and your family know the risks of zoonosis?  One of the reasons we recommend a monthly heartworm prevention is to deworm your pet from intestinal parasites that can infect humans in the home as well!

Dogs and cats are not just pets. They are treated like members of the family. And like any member of your family, it’s important to keep your companion animal healthy and free of parasites. It is fairly common for a dog or cat to become infected with an internal or external parasite at some point in its lifetime. Parasites can affect your pet in a variety of ways, ranging from simple irritation to causing life-threatening conditions if left untreated. Some parasites can even infect and transmit diseases to you and your family. Your veterinarian can help prevent, accurately diagnose and safely treat parasites and other health problems that not only affect your dog or cat, but also the safety of you and your family.

What is a zoonotic disease?

Zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases, are those diseases that can be transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans. For example, some worms can be transmitted in the environment.

What is a vector-borne disease?

Vector-borne diseases are those transmitted by fleas or ticks among other parasites that infest dogs and cats. They can affect pets and people. Ticks can transmit a large number of “vector-borne” diseases in North America including ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Parasites that affect your pet:

• Coccidia
• Ear Mites
• Fleas
• Giardia
• Heartworms
• Hookworms
• Mange Mites
• Roundworms
• Tapeworms
• Ticks
• Toxoplasmosis
• Whipworms

Common questions about pets and parasites

Do fleas and ticks on my pet present a health risk to my family?

Yes. Fleas and ticks can carry and either directly or indirectly transmit several potential illnesses of humans. For example, rickettsiosis (infection with Rickettsia) can be transmitted directly by ticks. Bartonellosis (infection with Bartonella) is transmitted between cats by fleas and then may spread to people. Also, fleas serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms, which can infect both your pet and humans.

What kind of internal parasites or worms can infect my cat or dog?

There are a number of intestinal worms that can infect dogs and cats, and they vary according to the species. In general, these include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms, and they are very prolific. In fact, one worm can produce more than 100,000 eggs per day, which are then passed in the pet’s feces and spread throughout the area the pet roams. Once in the environment, some of these eggs can remain infective and present a health risk for your pet and humans for years.

Are heartworms a parasite I should be concerned about for my pet?

Yes. Heartworms can be a very serious problem for both dogs and cats, especially those in mosquito-infested areas, as mosquitoes are a vector and intermediate host for the pest. Heartworms can kill or seriously debilitate pets that are infected with them. That’s because heartworms live in the bloodstream, lungs and heart of infected pets. Your veterinarian can do a blood test to determine if your pet has heartworm disease. A year-round preventive program is most effective to keep pets free of heartworms.

If my dog or cat has intestinal worms, how can these parasites infect humans?

Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite of pets and the most likely to be transmitted to humans. Humans can accidentally ingest infective worm eggs that have been passed through the pet’s feces and left in the environment. The eggs can then hatch in the human’s intestinal tract, and the immature worms can travel to various tissues in the body, including the eyes and brain, potentially causing serious infections. Round worms are the leading cause of blindness in young children. It is extremely important to have your pets on a monthly dewormer!

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