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Where Would My Pet Get That?

Where Would My Pet Get That?

Little do they know how scary a world it is out there. Parasites are everywhere and they are not scarce or rare. These creatures have spent thousands of years perfecting their techniques for finding new hosts. Modern medicine is wonderful but we are a very long way from overcoming parasites.

A single puppy with roundworms, and 95% of puppies have roundworms, sheds 3 million parasite eggs per bowel movement!!! No matter how well you try to clean up after a puppy a lot of eggs are going to end up in your grass, billions of them. Rain washes them into the grass and there they wait. Children whose parents breed dogs have far greater risk for developing illness due to roundworms than other children, just because of the sheer volume of microscopic worm eggs in their yards.

Roundworm eggs survive for years, waiting to be picked up by the next host to come along. The eggs have a sticky coating so they adhere to grass, feet, tennis balls or sticks. An object lands on the ground, eggs stick to it, then it’s in your dog’s mouth. So your dog can spend its entire adult life reinfesting itself with the same parasites it came with. Not to mention the eggs shed by wildlife, other dogs and stray cats.

Roundworms aren’t the only possibility, either. Hookworm incidence has gone up 19% over the past ten years. Hookworm larvae can penetrate into the skin of the feet, so if your dog walks where another dog pooped in the past he can become infected. It’s not as if your pet has to eat another animal’s stools topick up parasites – though that’s another effective way to get them.

Cedarburg used to have fox farms. 50 years ago there were acres and acres of wire bottom cages housing foxes being raised for their fur just outside of town. Years of fecal matter accumulated under all those rows of cages. Years later, those acres were developed for single family homes. The soil was dug up and distributed as those homes were built. We could tell which new patients had moved into one of those new neighborhoods because the fecal egg counts of those dogs the following spring were amazingly high. Every dog who moved into one of those homes acquired roundworms almost immediately. Those eggs survived for 50 years waiting for the opportunity to take up life in a new host.

I know you are tired of hearing us nag you about parasite prevention and control but odds are if you don’t prevent them you’ll sooner or later have to treat them. Fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, heartworms… As soon as you forget that once a month preventative your pet is at risk. So is your pocketbook. It’s expensive to treat for worms nowadays, as they have become resistant to the inexpensive dewormers we’ve used for the past 30 years. Newer, more powerful drugs cost more money. It’s not uncommon to spend $80-100 to treat intestinal parasites in a big dog. Having an exterminator come to your house to kill the fleas you could have prevented with a once-a-month dose of Frontline is a hefty expense too.

Prevention is almost always the best way to go – because parasites are out there, lurking, waiting for your children and your pets. Continue giving once a month heartworm and flea preventatives all year round, for the best defense against what’s waiting in your grass right now. It’s a dangerous world out there!