According to Dictionary.com, parasites are “organisms that live on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment”.
It is about dependents who feed themselves with another organism (in this case animals). They use to be attached to the host by claws, suckers, or hooks. It is well known that parasites cause issues in humans and animals. They reproduce rapidly and the response to their existence should be quick.
There are two groups of parasites in animals we know:
-endoparasites are whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and eyeworms. They live inside a host, in internal organs. Might be found in blood vessels, lungs, guts, and the heart.
-ectoparasites are fleas, ticks, mites, ear mites, and demodex. They live outside the hosts, on the skin and fur as external organisms.
Both kinds of parasites are bad for a host’s health and cause discomfort, disease, and even might lead to the worst-case scenario which is death. It is important to know how to recognize it and cure it.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A PARASITE INFECTION?
There are many symptoms of parasite infection but not every one of them will be present. A pet might have just one or several of them at the time. They could be lighter or heavier, depending on the immune system’s strength. The most common symptoms are:
- diarrhea (or a chronic soft stool)
- bloody stool
- poor coat
- bad physical condition
- loss of weight
- poor growth in puppies
- appetite loss
- itching and scratching the skin
- skin eruptions
- head shaking
- ear scratching
- a pot belly
Also, in some cases, you might recognize worms larvae in the pets’ feces so pay attention to it too.
If you recognize some of these symptoms in your pet’s behavior, this should be a sign that it’s time to visit a vet. Not always the cause will be parasite infection. There are some other conditions and illnesses that has the same body response. However, the vet will do the necessary research and tell what it is about and how to get rid of it.
PARASITES TRANSMISSION FROM ANIMALS TO HUMANS AND HOW TO PREVENT IT
It is not rare for animals to transmit parasites to humans and cause disease. Zoonotic diseases can be spread between these two types of beings, especially when sharing a living space with them (household pets). Parasite transmission might happen by contaminated food, water, feces, or fur hair. Mostly it’s about intestinal parasites.
It is the reason why is extremely important not to share food, water, and dishes with your pet. Try to forbid it to climb on the surfaces you eat on. Avoid sleeping in the same bed (even though we know that pets are hugable). Wash your hands often and do it always after petting or feeding your animal. When cleaning a pet’s feces (for example cat litter), do it with gloves or disinfect your hands after. Keep all the pets’ equipment clean.
Don’t touch your face and mouth after touching a pet. Try to prevent it from scratching you because it might be a potential way of transmission.
If having a child, deep clean your floors and furniture often. Pay attention that kids don’t kiss an animal (goes in both ways). Also, you might disinfect the toys from time to time because pets love to share (or should say steal) baby toys.
Be attentive to the pet’s body hygiene. Clean your pet, keep paws healthy, brush the fur often, and control if there is any sign of ectoparasites. Do that especially if your furry bud has long and thick hair.
Apply regularly (it is usually every month) the flea/ticks treatment to prevent it. There are several kinds of it like shampoos, liquids, spot-on treatments, etc depending on what works best for your pet.
For some kinds of pets (usually cats and dogs) there is a deworming regime that should be given to the animal. Talk to a vet about deworming schedule and prevent endoparasites contamination in your pet.
Keep your fluffy mate away from wild animals that might be infected with parasites.
Do not allow your pet to hunt and eat unknown street food. Also, raw meat is dangerous and might be a parasite carrier.
If you are adopting some street animal, took it to the vet first and check for its health condition. You better be sure if it is healthy and withour parasites or if it needs help with it before entering the house. The vet will do what it takes to protect you and your future pet. Puppies also needs some extra care until they are adults and needs to be protected from parasites often.
Watch for your pet’s health and well-being. Inform yourself how to save it. Do everything that might help to prevent parasite issues.