Have you ever seen those little rice grains in your pet’s stool or around their bottom? Well, most pets do not eat rice for dinner, did you know that what you are seeing is called tapeworms, yuck. These little guys are an intestinal parasite contracted by ingesting external parasites – usually fleas!
Parasites, both internal and external, are a zoonotic threat (meaning that they can be passed to humans) and they should be taken seriously by every pet parent. Not only can they make your pet’s life uncomfortable, but many parasites pose a risk to you and your family, as well! Internal parasites, including intestinal worms and heartworms, can be easily prevented with the use of one of our recommended parasite preventives.
Your pet can harbour many parasites in their intestines, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia and tapeworms (those little rice grains we mentioned earlier), and these worms can produce a variety of serious symptoms. In puppies, a tell-tale sign is a big, round pot-belly along with a thin upper body.
Hookworms and coccidia can cause very serious anemia from gastrointestinal bleeding. The best way to protect your family from these parasites is to routinely deworm your pets, wash your hands regularly and encourage your children to wear shoes when playing outside. We recommend annual fecal exams along with year-round parasite protection.
Written by Charleen MacLean, VA Pet Care Attendant.