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Fido Could Be Passing Parasites To Your Family?
     Man's best friend may have some enemies that can be passed on to you and your
family-zoonotic parasites!
     Defined as diseases or infections that are transmitted from animals to humans, zoonotic parasites can pose a health risk to families whose pets are unprotected.
     "Over the course of a lifetime, virtually every unprotected dog can be infected by intestinal parasites," said Dr. Jan Strother of North Alabama Veterinary Clinic. "In fact, a study shows that 36 percent of dogs nationwide are infected with one or more of the three most prevalent intestinal worms, including hookworm (Ancylostoma caninum), roundworm and whipworm."
     Your Family, Especially Small Children, May Be at Risk
There are several ways people can contract a zoonotic infection from their dog. For example, roundworms and hookworms live in a dog's intestine and are spread through contact with contaminated dog feces or soil. Generally, children are more likely to contract zoonoses than adults since they may neglect to wash their hands before putting them in their mouths after playing in contaminated sand or dirt. Even a simple barefoot walk through a park can put you at risk since hookworms can penetrate through the skin-especially the soles of the feet. External parasites such as fleas, mites and ticks can be spread to humans through direct contact with a dog's coat or environment, including bedding, furniture or carpets. For these reasons, prevention is the best way to safeguard dogs against disease and minimize risk of transmission of infection to people.
Protecting Your Family
To help prevent infection, pet owners should take their dogs for routine veterinary check-ups that include a physical examination and standard immunizations. Be sure to ask your veterinarian if your pet's parasite-preventive treatment includes protection from whipworms, roundworms and, especially, hookworms. And don't forget that intestinal parasite control can be combined with your dog's heartworm control. Dog owners should ask their veterinarians to prescribe a parasite preventative.
      Don't forget that, your family's health mirrors your pet's health. Make sure make sure that Fido is debugged year-round.