Haven Animal Hospital is dedicated to client education. We have created a parasite guide with a video library regarding endoparasites (within the body) and ectoparasites (outside the body) of dogs and cats to help our clients understand what is going on with their animal companion. If you have any special requests, please email us and we will do our best to provide you with further information. Don't forget, you can access our Pet Library page and search many different diseases and conditions to further your knowledge and understanding. The information and videos provided are courtesy of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC).
Roundworms, hookworms, ringworm, toxoplasmosis, and Giardia are zoonotic diseases, which mean they are contagious/communicable to humans.
People who are more likely to get diseases from dogs and cats include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS, and people being treated for cancer. Special advice is available for people who are at greater risk than others of getting diseases from animals.
Most of these diseases are contracted through contact with contaminated feces from cats and dogs. Ringworm is communicable by skin contact. Hookworms can also cause cutaneous larval migrans which occurs via skin contact with an infectious larva. It results in a snake-like rash that is extremely itchy.
Fleas and ticks can transmit diseases as well. Fleas can transmit tapeworms if a human were to ingest a flea carrying this parasite. Ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme’s Disease, and Ehrlichiosis. Fleas and ticks are not an endemic problem in Las Vegas, but many people travel outside the valley where these parasites do thrive.
Important Guidelines for Preventing Zoonotic Infections
Canine and feline feces should be removed from areas where children play before the eggs become embryonated/infectious. The feces should be burned, buried, or bagged and disposed of in the trash. There is no practical way to remove eggs from the soil once contamination has occurred. Contamination can be decreased in public areas by restrictions on uncontrolled dogs and cats, collection of feces by dog owners, and prevention of animal access to areas such as children’s playgrounds.
- To reduce human exposure, puppies and kittens should be dewormed.
- Adult animals may also need to be treated for patent infections.
- Good hygiene can help prevent infections or severe disease.
- Hands should be washed before eating.
- Children should be taught not to eat soil, and to wash their hands after playing with pets or outdoor activities.
- Children should not be allowed to play in areas where animal feces are found.
- Families may also consider postponing the acquisition of a new pet until children are past the toddler stage.
- Handwashing prior to breast feeding or preparation of formula is strongly recommended.
CAPC Guidelines (Companion Animal Parasite Council) and CDC recommendations:
Biannual fecal exams and monthly deworming for all animal companions.
Haven Animal Hospital Recommendations
- Deworm all newly acquired pets. Place all at risk pets on a monthly dewormer. At risk pets are those that leave the household. So, dogs that go on walks, go to the dog park, visit the pet supply stores, grooming animals, and boarding animals. Cats that are allowed to go outside because they can become infected from other dogs or cats.
- Have a fecal performed by your veterinarian biannually and immediately after you have traveled with your pet or had it in a boarding facility.
- Women who are thinking about becoming pregnant should be especially careful about toxoplasmosis because this disease can infect the fetus and cause a malformation or abortion. Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that is in infected cat feces. Pregnant women should not clean the litter box or handle any feces from a cat during the pregnancy.