Intestinal parasites /Internal parasites or “worms” are small organisms that may live in the stomach, intestines and other internal organs of your pet dog or cat. Even though they may not be easily seen, they can pose a threat to the health of both the pet and your family! “Worms” are very much a concern for pets and the families with whom they share their lives – and they aren’t going away anytime soon! Reducing the risk of “worm” infection is an important part of your pet’s health care. Your pet may also carry parasites which pose a threat to their human family.
For over 10 years now, Royal York Animal Hospital has conducted its own annual study to track the number of clinically “healthy” pets that tested positive for intestinal parasites. (and keep in mind that many of the affected pets were asymptomatic at the time). Our 2016 numbers indicate that of all the stool tests submitted to our laboratory, 5.1% tested positive for intestinal parasites (worms). Common results included parasites such as Giardia, roundworm and coccidiosis, however we also were able to detect cases of Baylisascaris procyonis (a raccoon roundworm transmissible to pets but also very high zoonotic potential to humans) and even Aelurostrongylus (cat lungworm)…YIKES!! Despite this, we were ecstatic to see that over time, our practice has made great strides towards decreasing the infection rate of the pets in our care since our study first began — the 2006 the positive rate was 10.1%!! We hope to continue to bring the number down even further with time, and in order to move towards this goal, the Veterinary Medical Team at Royal York Animal Hospital continues to recommend the following for ALL dogs and cats:
- Routine standardized deworming for ALL puppies and kittens as advised and overseen by the governing bodies of both the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists (AAVP)
- Annual fecal (stool) testing for ALL dogs and cats
- Deworming ALL outdoor cats 4 times per year (once every 3 months) –particularly those who hunt or have regular contact with other animals outdoors
- Prevention of the most common intestinal parasites during peak season (May thru November) with monthly Revolution dosing
Working together, we can keep our pets healthy and happy — and intestinal parasite free!! The Worms and Germs blog from the University of Guelph is a great resource. Check it out! http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/resources-pets/
Dr. Annelle Valentin Royal York Animal Hospital 4222 Dundas St. West Etobicoke, Ontario M8X 1Y6