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Worms/Intestinal Parasites

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Worms
     The main species of worms in the Southeast are roundworms (ascrids), hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.  These gross and harmful critters are particularly common in young puppies and/or kittens and have the potential to cause varying degrees of illness and/or death.  Roundworms are a thick, round worm that occupies space and absorbs nutrients.  A heavy load of these can cause death in young kittens and puppies.  Hookworms attach to the walls of the small intestine and suck blood from animals.  They can cause severe anemia and death even in an adult dog.  Whipworms, found usually in dogs only, attach to the large intestine and absorb blood, causing anemia, illness, and death in an adult.  Tapeworms are flat, nutrient absorbing worms that reside in the small intestine and can reach lengths of over one feet.  They pass small moving segments that can be seen in bowel movements, and are caused by animals swallowing flea(s) that's carrying immature stages of worm or by swallowing a small rodent infected with tapeworms.
     Worms can be detected with a fecal exam at the veterinarian's office.  If your animal has worms, you may notice diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, bloody stool, and possible vomiting.  If not treated, these symptoms could progress to cause serious illness and/or death.
     The types of worms listed above can cause various forms of diseases in humans and, except for whipworms, can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated feces.  The best form of prevention is to start worming your puppy or kitten at 4 weeks, and redose every 2-3 weeks until their last puppy/kitten vaccination.  After that, it's best to reworm at every regular yearly veterinarian visit.  If your animal is often around other dogs and/or in kennels frequently, they should be wormed about twice a year.
    

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