It is important to ensure your pet does not have intestinal parasite since some of them can be passed to their human family. CDC recommends that your pet be fecal tested once annual to ensure you and your family are safe. See the CDC website below for additional information.
What are the symptoms of intestinal parasites?
While external parasites, like fleas and ticks, are easy to spot, intestinal parasites are rarely seen because they live inside your pet’s intestinal tract and pass microscopic eggs or spores in your pet’s stool that are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Tapeworms are one exception--they shed segments that resemble sesame seeds or grains of rice and are typically seen in your pet’s stool or around their rectum. Roundworms are another exception since they may occasionally be seen in your pet’s vomit or stool. Nevertheless, intestinal parasites are difficult to spot and you should not rely on seeing them before taking your dog to the veterinarian.
Besides being hard to detect, many dogs infected with intestinal parasites are asymptomatic. Even symptomatic dogs may go undetected because their symptoms can be nonspecific. The most common signs and symptoms of intestinal parasites are:
- A distended abdomen
- Weight loss
- Occasionally coughing
Since dogs infected with intestinal parasites can exhibit no symptoms or subtle symptoms that can be easily overlooked; the best way to ensure that your dog is parasite-free is to take him to the veterinarian at least once a year for check-ups. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and perform fecal testing. A fecal examination allows your veterinarian to diagnose intestinal parasites by looking for microscopic eggs or spores in your pet’s stool.
By having your pet on heartworm prevention will help prevent them from contracting some of the main parasites like round worms, hookworms and some preventions will also prevent whipworms.