(What the heck does that mean??)
Zoonosis is a medical term for diseases that can be transmitted directly
from our pets to us. We as veterinarians and as pet owners have become
very complacent about the diseases that can be shared between us and our
pets, mainly because of the advent of all kinds of good deworming medications
that have come out over the years. But you heard it here: DONíT BECOME
COMPLACENT ABOUT PARASITES, especially those that can move from our pets
to us. Be sure your pets and their environment are as worm free as possible.
The main culprits I am talking about are Roundworms, Hookworms,
Tapeworms and Heartworms. Because these are not reportable diseases,
meaning there is no law requiring us to report these to the Center
for Disease Control (CDC), no one really knows how prevalent these
critters are. Suffice it to say, we all have to take them very seriously.
They have been known to cause blindness and, in rare cases, even
How do these get transmitted? Well, in general, there are a few
basic ways we are at risk. The most common way is when dogs and
cats defecate in garden beds or sandboxes, and children come in
contact when playing, or adults when gardening. Beaches can be another
source of these creatures. Tapeworms are transmitted via fleas,
so if your pet has fleas and brings them into the house, you are
at risk. And heartworms can be transmitted by mosquitos.
So what can we do? First and foremost, be sure your pets are free
of the parasites. Have a fecal sample run for worms every year and
in some areas every six months. It is also wise, regardless of the
fecal results, for your veterinarian to prophylactically de-worm
your pet every year. No fecal analysis is 100% accurate. And practice
good hygiene; wear gloves when you are gardening and wash your hands
thoroughly afterward. Keep the children out of sandboxes that may
be used by stray animals. Keep your pets flea and tick free. Use
the monthly preventive medications that are available for heartworms
for your dogs (and cats!).
Most importantly, speak to your veterinarian about this most important
issue, and be sure you have a strategic plan in place to prevent your
pet, and therefor yourself, from having parasites.
If you have specific questions about your particular animal or environment,
e-mail us at Drlarrypetvet.com
As always, I'm happy to help your pets...and their people too.