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Intestinal parasites or intestinal worms are small organisms that may live in the stomach, intestines, and other internal organs of your pet. Even though they may not be easily seen, they can pose a threat to yoru pet and your family. The most common parasites of pets in Canada are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, giardia, and coccidia.
These parasites can be spread to pets through contact with infected feces or contaminated surfaces. Some can be ingested or eaten; others can penetrate through exposed skin. Risk is increased when pets visit parks, sandboxes, and other areas animals contaminate with their waste. Parasites can also be transmitted through contact with domestic or wildlife habitats where parasites are found. Exposure is possible through contact with another infected pet, its fur, or a contaminated environment. Fleas can also act as the intermediate host for intestinal parasites. Some parasites can be transmitted from a mother to her litter.
Even if your pet does not appear ill, Jane Animal Hospital recommends testing your pet's feces at each annual examination and during your puppy and kitten's booster series to ensure you and your pet are protected. This specialized test includes a microscopic examination of your pet's stool in a qualified lab.
You can help reduce the risk of infection by following your veterinarian's recommendations for testing and de-worming your pet. Also, practice good hygiene when handling pets and when engaging in activities such as gardening. Clean up after your pets such as picking up after your dog and cleaning your cat's litter tray on a regular basis, and finally keep your pets flea-free.