Parasites in pets… and people

Regular fecal testing for parasites is a very important part of keeping your pet and even you healthy. Intestinal parasites are fairly common in pets and there are several different kinds. Some intestinal parasites are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye while some worms can be seen in feces or on a pet’s bedding. A few kinds of common parasites in pets are zoonotic which means they can infect people. Giardia and Roundworm are two of the most common zoonotic parasites in our area. Giardia usually causes diarrheal illness in people. It is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it tolerant to chlorine disinfection. While Giardia can be spread in different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common method of transmission. Roundworm may cause illness in people including fever, fatigue, coughing, wheezing, abdominal pain, eye inflammation, retinal damage, and even vision loss. The most severe cases of Roundworm infection in people are rare, but are more likely to occur in young children, who often play in dirt, or eat dirt contaminated by dog or cat feces. Pets who are infected with intestinal parasites might have diarrhea, weight loss, appetite changes, or a large belly but many pets have no symptoms at all. We recommend fecal testing for intestinal parasites including Giardia every 6 months to help keep your pet and you healthy. We also recommend keeping your pets on a monthly preventative for heartworms and other internal parasites that is relatively easy to give and inexpensive. In honor of American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Responsible Pet Ownership Month in September we are donating a portion of every preventative fecal test performed in the month of August to Ventura County Animal Service’s (VCAS) ongoing effort to educate about responsible pet ownership and help keep pets out of shelters.

Uncover Hidden Health Problems

Zorro

Ten percent of pets that appear healthy to their owners and veterinarians during their regular visits actually have underlying disease. Blood and urine tests are types of preventative veterinary care and are crucial in determining the overall health of your pet. Preventative care includes things like regular examinations, vaccines, fecal tests for parasites, blood and urine testing, and even blood pressures. While physical examinations are very important, the picture of your pet’s overall health is not complete without some diagnostic tests such as blood and/or urine testing. Often, we are able to detect illnesses with these tests before any outward signs are present.

We recommend annual blood testing for all pets. When pets become older and more prone to various diseases, we recommend blood testing that is more comprehensive. Blood testing generally includes complete blood counts which screens for conditions such as anemia, infection, inflammation, stress, and Leukemia. General blood testing also includes biochemistry tests that check the blood sugar level and checks for signs of kidney and liver disease. More comprehensive blood tests can help detect thyroid, pancreatic, and heart disease among other things. We also recommend annual testing for heartworm disease which is a simple blood test that is included in many blood panels but can easily be added to any blood panel.

We recommend annual urine testing for middle-aged and senior pets as well as for pets that are prone to urinary problems. Urine testing can tell us many things and can even detect early kidney disease before blood testing can. Urine testing can also show if any signs of urinary infection, stones, or crystals are present among other things. In honor of American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Responsible Pet Ownership Month in September we are donating a portion of every preventative blood and/or urine test performed in the month of August to Ventura County Animal Service’s (VCAS) ongoing effort to educate about responsible pet ownership and help keep pets out of shelters.