In the last few years increasing research has discovered a higher potential for humans being exposed to parasites carried by our pets than previously thought. This evidence has changed Walker Veterinary Hospital’s recommendations for the need for parasite detection and control

All common pet parasites can have the potential of being passed to humans, especially young children. Most internal parasites are transmitted to humans by hand to mouth contact: contaminated soil, feces, stagnant water, etc. Therefore, it is important to stress to children not to put fingers in their mouths after handling these items and to wash often. To minimize the possibility of transmittal, pick up and properly dispose of all fecal matter on a daily basis. Wear rubber gloves and wash hands thoroughly after disposal.

Fecal testing needs to be performed on every pet at least once a year. A fresh sample is needed (should be no older than four hours old). For best results, place a small sample in an airtight container and refrigerate until just before coming in. If bringing in a fresh sample is difficult for you, our hospital staff have been trained to obtain a fresh sample from your pet, and this can be done during his or her annual physical examination.

Signs of possible parasite infestation could include, but are not limited to, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, scooting, visual presence of the parasites or a change in the appearance of the haircoat. If your pet develops any of the above symptoms contact the hospital or come on in.

Start puppies on a preventive parasite control program as early as two weeks of age. All pets, male and female, that you plan to use for either stud purposes or for breeding need to be rewormed two to three weeks after giving birth.

To reduce the chance of a heartworm infestation, control mosquitos in your area by eliminating all potential water breeding areas. Dogs, and to a lesser degree cats and humans, can contract heartworm disease if they live in or visit an area that has mosquitos which might carry the heartworm larvae.

Giardia can be controlled by limiting your pet’s chances of drinking from contaminated water sources such as sloughs, levees, or irrigation ditches.

Lyme disease is another disease that humans and dogs can contract. For dogs there are Lyme Disease vaccines that help protect against the disease, but the best form of protection is to apply a tick control insecticide to your pet. After any trip that takes you or any of your pets to the coast or the mountains, check for ticks.

Tapeworms can be controlled by eliminating the fleas in the environment. Fleas are needed for one stage of the tapeworm infestation: break the cycle and stop the tapeworm infestation. Talk to OUR STAFF about the use of PROGRAM FLEA PREVENTION tablets and suspension. A number of new products have recently c