Our pet’s most common disease in Florida is parasites. A question frequently asked by clients when their four legged family member comes in for routine vaccinations is “what does my pet need to stay healthy?” Of all the testing and vaccinations performed, the incidence of intestinal parasites dwarfs all other preventable diseases. A large percentage of pets will get intestinal parasites in their life.

Intestinal parasites can be transmitted unnoticed and are easily spread from animal to animal or to human. All it takes is an infected flea that is swallowed by the animal. Feces from a stray cat or raccoon that defecated in your yard may unknowingly be ingested by your pet. Your shoes or a pet’s paw may accidently step on infested feces then licked, causing ingestion of a parasitic eggs.

Don’t wait for loose stool or vomiting caused by parasitism in your pet. Stop the worms before they reach a point of such high numbers that they are visibly seen in the pet’s stool. The potential for intestinal parasites to cause serious detrimental health issues to your pet can be avoided. Have your pet‘s feces examined by a microscopic intestinal parasite screen that looks for parasite eggs before the adults attain a large population.

Many intestinal parasites can be transmitted to humans. Do you kiss your pet? Does your pet sleep in your bed? Do you have children that put their fingers into their mouth? If you answered yes or no there is good news. Intestinal parasites are usually easily treated and readily prevented. Get your pet’s stool microscopically parasite checked for worms every 6 months by your veterinarian. Put your pet on a monthly parasite preventative program to help reduce the risk of infection. Remember to give your pet a preventative public health dewormer at least once a year. Wash your hands especially in areas where dog and cat waste is present.

When your pet comes in for a routine veterinary examination, be proactive. Yes, your pet does need intestinal parasite screening and prevention. Intestinal parasites are so common and ready to find a host in our warm Florida environment.

Stop parasites before they multiply and can call your house home.

For more information on pets and parasite diseases, view www.petsandparasites.org.