Important Pender Update: 

As the status in Virginia de-escalates, we are happy to continue to incorporate in-person appointments at Pender Fairfax, Chantilly and Manassas. Pender Emergency will remain open from 7:00am-10:00pm until announced.


Intestinal Parasites – They’re not just a pet issue

Published on October 1, 2015

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Intestinal parasites are an issue that rarely comes to mind. Just the thought of them would give anyone goose bumps. The idea that they can be transmitted from your beloved pet to you is even more chilling.

The good news is, intestinal parasite infections in your pet can be easily prevented. The veterinary team here at Pender, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and many pediatricians, advocate an appropriate, year-round prevention and deworming strategy. Many parasites can cause similar signs of diarrhea and vomiting in both pets and people, but there are two common parasites that can cause surprising and serious infections.


The larval stages of hookworms can migrate through the skin and cause a very itchy rash. This is unique for parasite infection in people because it does not involve ingestion of the eggs. Simply walking barefoot in a yard that is shared with an affected animal puts you at risk for this very uncomfortable infection.


Roundworms can cause more serious issues in people. Humans are not the typical host for these worms which often travel around the body instead of staying in the intestines. They can travel to the eyes and cause blindness in some cases. If you have seen the television show, House, an entire episode was dedicated to these parasites. Children, elderly, and anyone with a weak immune system are particularly at risk for this type of infection. Keeping your family safe begins with prevention.

Prevention is just as important as treatment after your pet has been infected. Keeping parasites at bay is a two part system which includes the following:

  • Routine fecal testing: This is needed on a yearly basis even when on monthly parasite prevention as not all parasites are covered by any one medication. Many pets may be infected without showing clinical signs, especially in the early stages of the infection.
  • Routine treatment: If your pet goes outside, is ever exposed to potting soil, or even dirty shoes; there is a chance of parasite infection. We recommend treatment even with negative fecal testing because it can help prevent future infection. This is often as easy as purchasing a heartworm preventative that has a component for intestinal parasites in it.

If your pet has not been checked for parasites recently or is not on prevention, please contact us immediately for an appointment to protect both your two legged and four legged family members.

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