Warnings About Pet Parasites

A warning to pet owners. The Center for Disease Control and Companion Animal Parasite Council report up to 3 million people could become infected by pet parasites this year.  Today, we spoke with a veterinarian, who shares the simple preventative steps that can keep parasites from spreading.

Pets are often called man's best friend.  However, if their not taken care of they could get you sick. The most common parasites to infect humans are roundworms and hookworms.

"It's a feces to hand to mouth transmission.  Hookworms are also transmission able from cat or dog by ingestion route or a hook worm can penetrate through the bare feet," says Dr. Gary Spence, Veterinarian with Spence & White Veterinary Hospital.

Infectious disease Dr. Perry Wallach with ETMC says he hasn't seen a lot of these cases but this is what you should look for.

"You will see a rash that looks like a red snake under your skin and you see that mostly in children.  Adults have diarrhea and in very rare cases it can cause brain damage and kidney damage," says Dr. Perry Wallach.

Dr. Wallach says there is medicines you can take to clear up the infection.

To prevent from being infected: the Companion Animal Parasite Council have issued these simple guidelines for your pet:  deworm kittens and puppies as early as 2 and 3 weeks old, adult pets need fecal exams several times a year and pets should be tested for heartworms every year.

Spence say these steps can protect both you and your pet.

"Routine health care on the pets and wearing your shoes can eliminate 99% of the problem," says Spence.

Dr. Spence if you notice your pet is eating more but not gaining any weight, they may need to be checked for parasites.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com