by Mark Magazu, DVM
Dr. Magazu practices at Swedesboro Animal Hospital, Swedesboro, NJ.
Roundworms, hookworms and coccidia are the most common intestinal parasites.
- Roundworms are long worms that live in the small intestine and eat what your puppy eats. They can cause obstructions, intestinal irritation and malnourishment. Roundworms can be contagious to humans if the egg, which is passed in the faces, is consumed.
- Hookworms latch on to the small intestine and such blood from the intestinal wall (or mucosa). When the worms move, they take a plug of mucosa with them causing bleeding, irritation and sometimes, infection. Hookworms can be transmitted to humans through cracks in our skin.
- Coccidia is a protozoa that reproduces in the cells of the intestine causing diarrhea and dehydration, and can be debilitating if not diagnosed.
A simple, inexpensive test on your pet’s stool can identify these and other parasites. With the proper medicines and cleaning up your pet’s feces, they can be controlled relatively easily. Remember, it only takes contact with another pet or its feces to get them back, so please walk your pet on a leash and don’t forget your pooper scooper!