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Parasite & Deworming

Parasite and Deworming at Rolling Hills Pet Hospital

Pets in San Diego have been diagnosed with roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms. Some of these parasites are zoonotic, meaning people can become infected, especially children. We want both you and your pet to be parasite free!

We offer a convenient once a month pill or topical skin medicine to protect your pet from the above creepy-crawly parasites that damage pet health.

The Problem with Animal Waste

Animal stool (poop, feces, waste) can contain bacteria and parasite eggs that infect humans and pets. Infection happens when tiny amounts of animal stool containing the germs reach the mouth. People may also become accidentally infected when they touch their mouth with soiled hands. Children often have their hands in their mouths and are at higher risk of infection. Did you know that old, dried-out stool is more likely to contain infectious parasite eggs than is fresh stool? If a pet is infected with parasites, the eggs from the parasites are passed into the pet’s stool. But the eggs can’t infect anyone until the stool has “aged.” This usually takes 1-7 days. Animal stool that is allowed to dry up and/or disintegrate can contaminate soil with parasite eggs for months or years!

What You Can Do to Reduce Infection

  • Keep your pet healthy.
  • Have your pet’s stool checked regularly by a veterinarian for parasites.
  • Fecal testing and deworming are important for all pets, especially for puppies and kittens, and pets with diarrhea.
  • Do not feed raw meat to your pet. Bacteria and parasites can be spread to pets through raw meat.
  • Keep your cat indoors. When cats hunt and eat rodents or birds, they can become infected with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii.
  • Do not let your dog eat feces.
  • Discard pet stool DAILY.
  • Wear gloves or cover hands with a waterproof bag (that has no holes) when removing stool.
  • Wash hands well afterward.
  • Pick up dog stool immediately when on a dog walk. The person who steps in it later may be you!
  • Do not remove stool by hosing it down with water – this just washes the parasite eggs into the ground.
  • Discard dog stool at least daily from your yard. Don’t let it “grow old.”
  • Clean stool out of litter boxes every day, before parasites like Toxoplasma gondii have a chance to become infectious.
  • Protect your yard.
  • The stool of raccoons and other nocturnal wildlife often carry roundworm eggs. Do not tempt wildlife.
  • To stay in your yard: Do not leave pet food and water outdoors after dusk. Pick up fallen fruit every day.
  • Do not touch or harass wildlife.
  • Cover children’s sandboxes when not in use so that cats do not use them as litter boxes.
  • For pregnant women. To protect yourself and your baby from toxoplasmosis, which can be carried in the stool of cats, you ALSO need to follow these extra safety tips. You do NOT have to give up your cat.
  • Have someone else handle the litter box duties, if possible. If you must handle these duties, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward.
  • Stool must be removed from the litter box daily. Empty and clean the entire litter box at least weekly.
  • Avoid stray cats, especially kittens. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.
  • Wear gloves when gardening. Avoid working in areas frequently visited by cats.
  • Wash your hands when you are finished.

Adapted from a pamphlet by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Toxoplasmosis: An Important Message

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