To start off the new year, I wanted to review the important preventive care that our dog and cat friends need – and our human families also! Dr. Evans and I were just talking about her backyard that borders on an elementary school playground/sports field. Many people bring their dogs there in the evening to run off leash – and then during the day the area is full of youngsters playing on the grass. Unfortunately, dogs and cats often carry roundworms and hookworms which can be passed on to people, especially children. These worms live in the intestine and usually cause no signs in the dogs and cats. Eggs are laid and released in the stool – thus deposited in the schoolyard! These eggs can survive in the grass/soil for many months, long after the feces is gone. When roundworm or hookworm eggs get into people, they mature and leave the intestinal tract. The larvae wander through the body and cause problems in skin, eyes and other organs, a condition called larval migrans.

We don ™t see a lot of larval migrans in our area, but it does occur, especially in children and the immunosuppressed (HIV, cancer, diabetic patients etc.) This is a very easy thing to prevent. All dogs and outdoor cats should have their stool checked yearly for parasites, and should be on a year ˜round internal parasite control program. This usually means a once monthly topical or oral product. It is an easy and inexpensive way of protecting your pets and family. If you have questions about parasite control or other preventive medicine, call us.

by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP